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Published 1914 


To the foreigner visiting Spain for the first time so 
many things seem topsy-turvy that, unless a philo- 
sophical spirit be cultivated, one's temper might suffer 
serious damage. But there is one way not only to 
endure, but actually to enjoy the minor discomforts, 
absence of consistency, and utter lack of common 
sense forced upon one at every turn in this most 
original country ; and that is to regard them all 
from the standpoint of comic opera. So many 
people expect to find Spain merely an enlarged 
edition of Bizet's Carmen that it ought not to be 
difficult for them to smile when comic-operatic 
incidents are enacted before them in daily life ; and 
yet one often sees the impatient traveller exhausting 
himself in furious denunciations of tough beef, bad 
butter, unpunctual trains, faulty postal services, 
retrograde hotels, and so on ad infinitum, instead 
of thanking his lucky stars that there is still one 
country in Europe which remains much as God made 
it, instead of being recast in the mould preferred by 
the tourist agencies. 

No doubt when we get express trains flying from 
Irun to Madrid and from Granada to Seville at sixty 



miles an hour, with a chain of cosmopolitan hotels 
all along the road, those tourist agencies will be able 
to do far better business. But their clients will not 
then travel in Spain but in Cosmopolitania, and the 
last stronghold of romance left in Western Europe 
will have gone the way of Switzerland and Italy, 
where in some towns it is almost the exception to 
hear the language of the native spoken in the streets. 
Thank Heaven, Spain has not yet awakened to the 
commercial advantages of moulding her national 
characteristics into the groove of the common-place, 
and her soul has not yet been cut out and thrown 
away in the pursuit of filthy lucre. 

Meanwhile, the traveller who follows the beaten 
track has really very little to complain of, for during 
the last ten years great progress has been made both 
in the train service and the hotel accommodation ; 
and when you have grumbled and slept and scolded 
through the eight or ten or twelve or twenty hours' 
railway journey from one provincial capital to 
another, and take your place at the table d'hote 
in one of the big new hotels, you might almost 
imagine yourself in London or Paris or New York. 
One thing, however, reminds you that you are in 
Spain : the anxious solicitude of the waiters, who 
watch your every mouthful as if it were a matter of 
personal consequence to them that you should be 
pleased with your dinner, and press fresh dishes 
upon you if you do not eat as much as they think 
you ought, assuring you that they are very excellent 
and that you must keep up your strength in order to 
enjoy the beautiful monuments that you are going 


to visit to-morrow. This interest of the mozo in his 
master's client is genuine, not inspired by the antici- 
pation of favours to come. He feels it as a reflection 
upon the credit of the house if you refuse to take 
every course, and finds it difficult to understand that 
abstinence may mean satiety, not dissatisfaction with 
the viands. I doubt if anywhere else one seems of 
quite so much importance in the eyes of the estab- 
lishment as in Spain, for these attentions begin with 
your first meal in the hotel and are continued 
throughout your stay ; and can anything make you 
more at home in an hotel than a cordial interest in 
your appetite ? 

If you complain of the interminable time that 
you have spent on the journey, you will be met with 
the grave assurance that it is safer to travel slow 
than fast, and that Spain has far fewer railway 
accidents than England or the United States. You 
may reply that she has far fewer trains, but we don't 
trouble ourselves about the law of averages in Spain, 
and the Spaniard solemnly assures you that nothing 
is gained by the alarming rapidity of Anglo-Saxon 
life except more speedy arrival at the grave. 

If you dispute an hotel bill, longer than would 
be made out at the Ritz, for an entertainment which 
it would be complimentary to describe as mediocre, 
the landlord justifies his charges by explaining how 
much you get for your money in these days of 
progress, compared with what you lacked when life 
in Spain was cheaper, and after all what can a dollar 
or an esterlina () more or less matter to so great a 
lord as yourself, who must evidently be a millionaire 


to be able to travel so far from home merely for his 
own pleasure. You must also take into account, he 
says, that the tourist season only extends over a 
couple of months in the spring, thanks to the general 
ignorance abroad of the charms of the winter climate 
in that particular part of Spain. And how, he asks, 
is a poor man to keep his hotel open all the year 
round for the convenience of the English lord in the 
spring, unless the English lord pays enough when he 
comes to save him from bankruptcy during the other 
ten months of the year ? And if these arguments 
in the course of which the exorbitant items under 
discussion have been skilfully left out of the conver- 
sation do not remove your objections to an extor- 
tionate bill, only one of two courses remains open to 
you. Either shake the dust of Spain off your feet 
and depart to some other land where the innkeepers 
realise that one contented guest will bring more 
money into their coffers than ten who depart in 
anger ; or come with me right off the beaten track, 
and learn to know the real Spain, and to love, as I 
do, the real Spaniard. 

Will he exploit the foreigner ? He would rather 
give you the coat off his back than take a penny 
from you that he has not honestly earned ; and he 
will do you all sorts of services with the native grace 
which has created the tradition that " every Spaniard 
is a gentleman. " That class of Spaniard does not 
frequent the large cities, nor is he to be found by 
foreigners who seek him with the aid of an in- 
terpreter. Indeed, he is not worth the interpreter's 
powder and shot, for he cannot pay a commission on 


purchases made by the guileless traveller through 
the agency of his guide : he has nothing to sell save 
his honour and courtesy, and those are not market- 
able commodities. So he is left undisturbed in his 
beautiful mountain fastnesses or in his fertile plains, 
where only a select few will take the trouble to seek 
him out. And long may he remain there ! 

But when he is sought and found by the traveller 
who is not content to form his opinion of the whole 
country on his observations from the window of an 
hotel, then indeed it becomes evident that the heart 
of Spain beats strong and true beneath the froth of 
political passion and greed of gain which disfigure 
her outward semblance ; and the veil of romance 
woven about her by the poet and the artist will 
enwrap that traveller, and he will return to Spain 
again and again, until he, like the writer, finds that 
into the web are woven some of his own heart- 

Then all the minor discomforts will become but 
mere matter for laughter, with an arriere-pensee of 
satisfaction at the barrier they set up against the 
flood of cheap trippers which, but for them, might 
overwhelm our Peninsula. And if sometimes we hear 
a note of tragedy beneath the light chorus of our 
opera, it does but deepen the music, as the purple 
shadows in an Andalucian street throw up the golden 
glow that bathes the whitewashed houses basking 
in the sun. 

One word more. My readers may perhaps be 
surprised to find a " heretic " on good terms with 
many ecclesiastics in Spain, for there seems to be an 


impression abroad that this is a bigoted land where 
foreign non-Catholics are given the cold shoulder, 
if nothing worse. 

Of course there are many Spaniards who feel 
strongly on the subject of their religion, and no 
doubt any one who publicly showed disrespect to 
objects of worship here would have cause to regret 
his lack of good manners. But so long as he 
behaves decently in sacred places, and observes a 
certain amount of discretion in conversation, the 
" heretic " need fear no discourtesy either from priests 
or people. Nor will he meet with any oppressive 
zeal in the direction of proselytising. The most 
embarrassing effort in that direction that I have 
known was the gentle remark from a nun : " You are 
so good already that you ought to be a little better. 
I pray daily that you may become a good Catholic." 
And an entertaining experience was that of a 
member of our family whom a distinguished divine 
announced his desire to convert 

" We will begin with a game of chess," said he, 
" and after that we will discuss dogmas." 

The game of chess proved so engrossing that it 
lasted till bedtime, when the divine took his leave 
in a hurry, forgetting all about the dogmas. 

The accusation of bigotry now whatever may 
formerly have been the case is as undeserved as 
many other unkind things that have been said about 

" We are very much misrepresented by foreign 
writers," an intelligent young officer said to me one 
day ; " if ever you write a book about Spain, I hope 


you will speak of us as you find us, so that for once 
we may have a little justice from a friend." 

With this rather pathetic appeal in mind I have 
tried my best to describe Spain as I have found it, 
and I must maintain that I have done my Spanish 
friends no more than justice, even though those who 
do not know them write me down a prejudiced 

** The accents marked on the Spanish words in the text are in 
most cases added merely as a guide to the pronunciation, for those 
who do not know the language. 

















"DoNA ELENA" ...... Frontispiece 




IN THE FLOUR MARKET . . . . . .37 


AN ANCIENT GATEWAY . . . . . .48 


A PREHISTORIC WEIR . . . . . .87 


EUSTIC LOVERS . . . . . . 108 



From the picture by GONZALO BILBAO. By permission of the 
owner, the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Rosebery, K.G. 

THE BRIDEGROOM'S DOOR . . . . . .183 



A KEST AT THE FORD . . . . . .261 






Life in the patio Locked doors and lovers The uses of the 
grated gate Courting under difficulties : the keyhole and 
the crack Manolo and Carmencita, a romance in real life. 

THE great event to which the whole creation moves 
in the eyes of a Spanish senorita not being a 
resident in Madrid is the annual fair in the 
capital town of her province. This generally takes 
place in the spring, and therefore, for her, the 
spring is the end and not the beginning of the 
year, looked forward to with increasing excitement 
through autumn and winter, while to that young 
lady summer is but the beginning of the long year 
which has to be lived through until spring and 
LA FERIA, in capital letters, comes round again. 
I, like the Spanish senorita, will begin my 
Spanish year with the summer, if not exactly for 
the same reason, for one akin to it. The great 
heat of summer, with its dust, mosquitoes, and 
flies, is the most trying time in all the twelve 

: ? : : /; : :MY SPANISH YEAR 

months in this country, as the spring is the most 
enjoyable ; and wise people keep the best to the 

Let it not be supposed, however, that summer 
in Spain has no compensations. They are many 
and various, and not the least among them is the 
life of the patio, which begins in June and ends 
in September. 

The patio is always spoken of as one of the 
peculiar charms of southern Spain, but how many 
of my readers, who have not visited the country, 
know exactly what it is ? I myself, before I came 
here, had a vague idea that it was something in 
the nature of a yard, and I remember that on 
seeing a huge corral for cattle, attached to a farm- 
house near Tarifa and so large as to be visible from 
the steamer as we approached Gibraltar, I asked 
whether that was a patio ! 

The Andalucian house of to-day is in essentials 
the direct descendant of the house built by the 
Greeks who colonised Andalucia, or Tartessus, as 
they called it, some six or seven centuries B.C. 
The pylon, now called the zaguan, is the vestibule 
leading from the street door direct into the peri- 
style, the open courtyard round which the house is 
built, now known as the patio. In the daytime 
the zaguan is open to the street, but entrance to 
the patio is barred by a large iron grille, which can 
only be opened from within. The Eomans con- 
tinued the Greek form of house, with slight 
structural modifications, and added the solarium, 
an open gallery or arcade intended for basking in 


the sun. This feature is common in the older 
houses of Andalucia to-day, although those of more 
modern construction lack it, and the inmates when 
they wish to sun themselves go up to the azotea, 
the flat brick roof on which the family washing is 
usually hung out to dry. The names azotea and 
zaguan are both Arabic, showing, were demonstration 
needed, that neither the Visigoths nor the Arabs 
made any essential alterations in the structure of 
the houses they found when they respectively 
conquered Andalucia. 

The patio is a central court off which numerous 
rooms open, always including the summer dining- 
room and the summer kitchen, their winter counter- 
parts being on the floor above. There is also a sola 
or reception-room, and in old houses this may have 
beautifully carved Arabic roof-beams, filled in with 
fine fifteenth- or sixteenth-century lustre tiles : for 
while the upper stories are frequently modernised and 
sometimes brought quite up to date in the matter 
of bathrooms, ample windows, and effective ventila- 
tion, the patio with the dark rooms surrounding 
it is very seldom reconstructed. It is only used 
as a refuge from the summer heat, and the architects 
of to-day wisely refrain from interfering with the 
shadowy lights and cool refreshing temperature 
which make life enjoyable even when the ther- 
mometer outside stands at 110 or more in the shade. 

Great doors sometimes of mahogany, cedar, or 
lignum-vitse four inches thick, studded with large 
brass or iron nails, and adorned with corner pieces, 
lock, key, and knockers, all richly wrought to match 


shut off the zaguan from the street. All day 
long these stand open, as though inviting the passer- 
by to step in and admire the patio within, the whole 
of which can be seen through the cancela or iron 
grille already mentioned : but at night they are 
closed and secured with a huge iron bolt, often 
two or three feet long. The noise made by the 
closing of these doors at night, and the shrieks of 
the great bolts, which are never by any chance oiled, 
can be heard one after the other all along the 
street, and are liable to interfere a good deal with 
the beauty sleep of the stranger. But, unless there 
is a velada or a tertulia going on, the noise is 
all over by 11 p.m. or earlier, because custom 
requires that respectable houses should present 
blank faces to the moonbeams a full hour before 

If you ask how this can be when every one 
knows that Spanish gentlemen make a practice of 
turning night into day at their cafes and clubs, 
I must call your attention to the postigo, a little 
low wicket opening in one of the great doors. The 
stern father, forgetful of his own youthful escapades, 
or determined that his son shall not follow in his 
footsteps, may order the door to be locked at eleven 
every night ; but there is always a corruptible 
servant or a tender-hearted sister on the watch 
to lift the latch of the postigo and screen the young 
scapegrace from the paternal ire. 

We may take it for granted that when the sister 
connives at her brother's late hours, it is not to 
enable him to gamble at his club or drink more 


than is good for him at the cafe. It must be a 
love affair that enlists pretty Amparo's sympathies 
and keeps her out of her bed to all hours. She 
has probably been listening to the professions of 
devotion of her own forbidden lover until long 
after midnight, and thus all her sympathies are with 
Manolo, who also has lost his heart without per- 
mission from the parents. 

In these cases the soft nothings have to be 
breathed between the bars of the stout iron gratings 
which are placed outside every ground-floor window, 
not only as a precaution against malefactors, but, 
as a young Spaniard once told me, " to keep the 
girls in and the boys out." To English ideas this 
seems a poor enough way to make love, but in some 
country towns even the grating is not considered 
sufficient protection for the youth and beauty within, 
and I know of one case in which the grandfather, 
a blue-blooded old aristocrat and a good deal of 
a martinet, had wire netting fixed all over the 
ground-floor windows to prevent his granddaughters 
being kissed between the bars ! Such are the 
difficulties attendant on pelando la pava (plucking 
the turkey) or comiendo hierro (eating iron), as 
these grating courtships are called. 

In old houses, no matter how large, it is not 
unusual to see only a single window, with its in- 
evitable grating, on the ground floor of the street front 
a survival of the Oriental idea of the seclusion of 
women, for down to the sixteenth century, in southern 
Spain, no windows at all opened on to the street. 
This one window, which generally lights the porter's 


lodge, will be appropriated by the daughter of the 
house if she encourages a secret admirer. The 
servants are always on the side of romance, and will 
not hesitate to aid the lovers by every means in 
their power, so the old porter, who is supposed by 
his mistress to see that no illicit interviews go on 
after dark, finds no difficulty in taking a nap in 
his rocking-chair in the patio, while la nina, 
whom he has known and spoilt from her cradle, 
sits at his window and listens to the passionate 
whispers of her admirer in the street. 

Meanwhile the maid-servants have their own 
sweethearts to attend to, and, failing a second 
window, it might seem difficult to get into com- 
munication, for the daughters of the respectable 
poor are as strictly chaperoned as the senoritas, 
and a girl would lose her character if she had an 
" evening out," unless under the wing of her mother 
or some female friend of mature years. But love 
laughs at locksmiths, and a friend of mine told me 
how he learnt by personal experience the way in 
which the courting is managed in such cases, after 
the street door is closed. 

He was going home along the main street of the 
country town in which his father lived. The night 
was dark and the street lamps few and dim, and 
he stumbled over something soft lying along the 
pavement in front of the door of a large house. 
A sibilant whispering relieved his first fear that an 
assassin's knife had been at work. It was a young 
man lying full length on the ground, with his lips 
at the crack under the door, talking to his sweet- 


heart, who lay on the floor inside, while another 
maid-servant and her lover had possession of the 
keyhole, and the senorita in the grated window 
modestly pulled the curtain to hide herself from 
my friend's glance when she heard his footsteps 

These be the amenities of summer. In winter 
fewer lovers are to be seen about the streets, because 
bad colds and stiff necks are apt to be caught by 
young men even though wrapped in the volu- 
minous cloak so dear to romance who stand for 
many hours out of doors " eating iron " with their 
feet in a puddle, staring up at the beloved in the 
balcony of the first floor whereon she resides from 
October to June. Indeed, I know of one love affair 
that was broken off, never to be renewed, because 
.the girl took offence at the prolonged absence of 
her admirer, who, poor fellow, was in bed with 
influenza and unable to get the sad intelligence 
conveyed to his goddess at her window. 

In this case the mother's opposition had reached 
an acute stage, and the love-sick Manolo's explana- 
tion fell into the wrong hands. Intimation was sent, 
as from Carmencita, that her legitimate fiance was 
offended by Manolo's attentions, and that they were 
therefore unwelcome : and as the unfortunate youth 
on his sick-bed had no means of getting into direct 
communication with his charmer, he had to sigh 
with such patience as he might until the weather 
improved and he could return to the window bars, 
and demand an explanation of that cruel message. 
Meanwhile Carmencita was told that Manolo's 


absence was due to the attractions of a new novia : 
in which, seeing that these loves of the grating are 
taken up and dropped as easily as a travelling 
acquaintance, there was nothing inherently improb- 
able. So she wept profusely at his supposed incon- 
stancy, and when she learnt the truth adopted the 
last resource open to the heart-broken senorita 
hysterics, and threats to refuse food (a mode of 
coercing the authorities in vogue among revolting 
daughters here long before it was adopted by the 
suffragettes), and to fling herself from the azotea 
into the patio below, unless she were allowed to 
write to Manolo and assure him of her undying 

But alas ! Manolo, although of good family, had 
no money and no prospects, whereas the dis- 
tinguished Seiior Conde de las Patillas Blancas, 1 
although he had begun life as an assistant in a 
grocer's shop, had gone to Cuba before the war with 
America had destroyed that mine of riches for 
Spaniards who knew how to make their account out 
of it, and having returned wealthy had revived a 
title to which he may or may not have had a legal 
claim. Thus he was now in every respect a most 
desirable parti for the fair Carmencita. 

So Manolo rose from his bed of sickness to read 
in the local paper that " the aristocratic and affluent 
Senor Conde de las Patillas Blancas had asked the 

1 Count of the White Whiskers. There are many such titles 
among the Spanish nobility, dating from the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries, when royalty often bestowed titles referring 
to personal peculiarities. 


hand of the exquisitely beautiful young Senorita 
Carmen Perez y Dominguez, daughter of the 
Marquises 1 of Campos Abandonados" literally 
" deserted fields," but perhaps best paraphrased into 
the familiar English title of Bareacres. 

As Manolo well knew, this was the end. For 
not only is the mother in Spain absolute mistress 
in the matter of her daughter's marriage, but 
Carmencita herself, once she had shed the conven- 
tional tears over the loss of her lover, was perfectly 
well aware on which side her bread was buttered. 
Both these young people were intimate friends of 
mine, and if I had consented to act as go-between 
when I went to congratulate Carmencita on her 
engagement, and incidentally provoked a torrent of 
tears by remarking on Manolo's fortunate recovery, 
it is just possible that she might have made a fresh 
effort to get her own way. But it is the part of 
wisdom not to meddle with Spanish love affairs, 
which are seldom or never quite what they seem, 
and in her inconstant little heart Carmencita cer- 
tainly thanked me for refusing to carry any messages. 
As for Manolo, he consoled himself by marrying an 
heiress a year or so after, and disappears from this 
veracious history. 

1 The wife in Spain, from the Queen downwards, merges her 
identity in that of her husband when they are spoken of together, 
and we have los Reyes, the Kings, instead of the King and 
Queen ; los Duques, the Dukes, instead of the Duke and Duchess ; 
and so on down the whole gamut of society. The practical con- 
venience of this abbreviation is so obvious that I make no apology 
for adopting it. 


Social life in a mountain town Moslem traditions The 
etiquette of betrothal Wedding presents The trousseau 
Little tragedies of Spain Dramatic Carmencita Com- 
pensations for the Countess. 

IF I were to describe the scene of the wedding where 
it actually took place, it is just possible that some 
of those concerned, if they happened to see this 
book, might recognise themselves. I will therefore 
transfer it to the picturesque mountain town of 
Konda, which, although frequented by tourists, and 
boasting two really comfortable hotels, still preserves 
some peculiar local customs. 

Of these perhaps the most noticeable is the 
Moslem tradition of the separation of the sexes. 
The numerous travellers, both native and foreign, 
who spend a day in the town on their way to or from 
Algeciras in the spring or autumn, have as yet made 
no impression on the conservatism of the Kondeiios, 
and one has only to stroll up and down the Paseo 
de la Merced on a Sunday night in summer to see 
that social customs in Ronda are quite unaffected by 
contact with the outer world. 

The heat of the day being over, and a cool west 
wind rustling the leaves of the avenues of planes, the 
purple peak of La Liba, which forms the clou of a 


charming picture, is suddenly blotted out as the 
electric light is switched on. In the matter of street 
lighting Spain is by no means behind the age. The 
Spanish love for a blaze of light out of doors prob- 
ably accounts for the strides made by the electric 
lighting industry during the last few years. It is true 
that often even well-to-do people are still content to 
illuminate their houses with a cheap paraffin lamp, 
or even with a candil of brass with its tiny wick fed 
with olive oil. But once these lovers of display 
realised that a few arc lamps hung along the Paseo 
turned night into day, and that electricity would 
enable the gilded youth to display his new straw hat 
of the English shape, his beautiful red tie, and his 
shiny brown boots at least as well at midnight as at 
noon, the towns found money for street lighting 
without apparent difficulty, and now there is hardly 
a village, even in the plains where there is no water- 
power available, that is not lit by electricity. I 
have seen electric lamps at every street corner in a 
place to which there is no means of access save a 
mule track, and no contact with the outer world 
save a visit from the postman on his donkey two or 
three times a week, if there happen to be any letters 
to deliver. 

Eonda with its wonderful Tajo, through which 
the Guadalevin rushes in a torrent during the winter 
rains, was provided with electric light when I first 
visited it ten or eleven years ago. At that time 
the power used to fail ignominiously in the summer, 
at which season all the water of the shrunken river 
has to be turned into the irrigation channels, as has 


been the legal right of the numerous market gardeners 
in the valley from Arabic times. Now steam has been 
brought in to supplement the water-power, and the 
lighting of the principal hotels, and above all of the 
Paseo, is as brilliant as any one can desire. 

In summer it is too hot to stroll about with 
comfort in the daytime, and the youth of both 
sexes had little opportunity of contemplating each 
other's charms at that season until artificial light 
came to the rescue. Now, especially on a Sunday 
night, the whole town crowds into the Paseo, where 
under powerful arc lights the young people can 
admire each other to their hearts' content. 

One of the curious customs of the place is that 
all the pretty girls march up and down, from two 
to six or seven together, while their portly mothers 
and aunts sit and fan themselves on the stone benches 
and chairs ranged along both sides of the walk. The 
young men also march up and down, also in groups, 
but carefully confining themselves to either side of 
the broad space in the centre occupied by the girls. 
Each town in Spain is socially a law to itself, and 
it seems to be contrary to Ronda etiquette for the 
men to walk with the girls under any condition 
whatever, although in other places the presence of 
a duenna makes it quite correct. 

Engaged couples may enter the Paseo together 
(of course properly chaperoned) but they must not 
join in the promenade. They may only sit under 
the trees with the mother or the aunt, and console 
themselves for their enforced retirement by squeezing 
each other's hands under cover of the shadows 


cast by the overhanging boughs. But if the girl 
happens to come late, her fiance gets a chance to 
show himself. Then he may walk up and down as 
much as he pleases in the midst of the swarm of girls, 
pretending to be looking for his sweetheart. I watched 
Carmencita's elderly lover at this performance one 
Sunday night, and every time he got well into 
the focus of one of the arc lamps he stopped short 
with the light full on him, glancing this way and 
that with assumed anxiety as to the whereabouts 
of the lady, although he knew, and she knew, and 
all their friends and acquaintances knew, that his 
charmer would not appear till the band began to 
play at ten o'clock. 

Carmencita's wedding was fixed for July, partly 
because the summer, when the boys are home from 
school and university, is the gayest time here, but 
mainly because propriety demands that the religious 
ceremony shall take place within quite a few weeks 
of that known as "asking for the hand" in other 
words, the signing of the marriage contract. The 
noviazgo, which is not strictly speaking an engage- 
ment, but rather a protracted courtship which may 
or may not end in a wedding, sometimes goes on for 
years and is then broken off, without any blame 
attaching to the jilt, be he male or female. It is 
quite an understood thing that there is no moral 
obligation to marry as long as the hand of the lady 
has not been formally " asked." But once this has 
been done, not by the lover but by some relative of 
the elder generation, the marriage is regarded as the 
necessary consequence, and a man or woman who 


declined to fulfil the engagement after that ceremony 
had been gone through would be mal mirado 
badly looked at which is more or less equivalent 
to being sent to Coventry. 

So when I heard that Carmen was finally en- 
gaged I knew it would not be long before I received 
an invitation to the wedding, which came in due 
course, printed in silver on a highly glazed card. 
It was not strictly speaking an invitation at all, for 
it merely set out at full length the names and titles 
of the bride and bridegroom and their parents (and 
Spanish names and titles are as long as a Presbyterian 
sermon), and announced the day and hour of the 
wedding without "requesting the pleasure of my 
company." The opposite side of the card contained 
an identical announcement on the part of the bride- 

On the day before the wedding I went, by Car- 
mencita's special request, to see her trousseau, which 
to the Andalucian bride is even more exciting than 
the wedding presents. 

She received me in a dainty bata, a garment 
which is a cross between a tea-gown and a pinafore, 
with her hair loose and falling below her waist, and 
her eyes were so bright and her laugh so gay that 
I felt sure she was as contented as were her parents 
with the affluent future before her. She took me 
to the winter reception-rooms upstairs, which looked 
as if they were prepared for a sale of work. On a 
number of tables and chairs were displayed the 
presents innumerable sofa cushions, embroidered 
night - dress cases, crocheted table - covers, anti- 


macassars, lace d'oyleys, and so forth ; with the 
more solid offerings of glass, china and plate from 
older relatives half lost to sight among the hand-made 
gifts from Carmencita's schoolfellows and girl friends. 

But the presents were completely eclipsed by the 
far more important personal outfit of the little bride. 
Trestle tables filled the middle of the long room 
from end to end, and looked something like reefs 
under the froth of breaking waves, so covered were 
they with house and table linen, towels and side- 
cloths edged with wonderfully complicated fleco 
morisco (" Arabic fringe"), and a fluff and foam of 
personal wear of fine lawn, lace, and muslin enough 
to last a lifetime, all made by Carmencita and her 
sisters and her friends, and all exquisitely embroidered 
with her initials in an endless variety of interlacing 
monograms. The wealthiest English or American 
bride might be proud to wear such lingerie as I saw 

As soon as her tiny hands can hold a needle, the 
Spanish senorita is taught by the nuns at her school 
to sew in this dainty fashion, and from her earliest 
childhood she devotes the fruits of her labours to 
furnishing her trousseau ; for here the bride brings 
all the house linen as part of her dowry, and long 
before she is old enough to have a lover her care- 
ful mother will provide the huge quantities of fine 
linen and lace, and the pounds of embroidery silk 
and cotton which are required for the proper plenish- 
ing of one of those great carved chests in which the 
daughters of the house have stored their wedding 
outfits for centuries past. 


If the daughter passes out of her teens without 
being married the chest will be full long before it is 
required, and indeed sometimes it is never needed 
at all ; for unless a girl is rich, or of distinguished 
family, or, if poor, remarkably beautiful, it is quite 
likely that no one will ever ask for her hand. 

And sometimes poverty descends on the family, 
and the daughters, orphaned and penniless when 
already past their youth and unable to earn any 
sort of a living, are reduced to selling one by one 
all the produce of so many years of industry to 
satisfy the claims of hunger, or, if the old house has 
been sold, to pay the rent of some wretched little 
room which in their prosperous days they would 
hardly have given to a maid-servant. I have wit- 
nessed pathetic scenes when ladies of gentle birth 
have come to me in the dusk of evening to ask if I 
will buy some dainty embroidery or delicate pillow 
lace " to help a friend who has lost her money." 
And to the end they will try to salve their hurt 
pride by keeping up this transparent fiction, holding 
the bedspread or pillow-case upside down, in the 
hope that until they have left with the money in 
their pockets I may not notice that the initials 
worked on it are their own. 1 

1 As the use of their surnames by Spanish wives is confusing 
to a foreigner, it may be well to explain that both men and 
women use the family name of the father and the mother. 
Thus Antonio Lopez marries Maria Garcia, and his children's 
family name is Lopez y Garcia. One of his sons marries Luisa 
Ramirez, and his children are called Lopez y Ramirez, and so on. 
A married woman keeps her maiden name. Thus if Maria 
Garcia y Perez marries Antonio Lopez y Rodriguez, she will be 


But these are the little tragedies that lie beneath 
the surface, and we must not dwell on them, for 
we have not done yet with the trousseau of our 

She was only seventeen when her fate was 
decided, so her chest was not quite full ; but for- 
tunately there were enough nearly finished sheets 
and pillow-cases and so forth in those of her younger 
sisters to supply all deficiencies ; and every after- 
noon through the weeks before the wedding the 
three little marquesitas and their girl friends had 
sat together in their cool patio under the orange 
and palm trees in the shade of the heavy canvas 
awning, stitching away for dear life, amid an 
incessant prattle about clothes and lovers, and a 
continual munching of chocolates flavoured with 

Space for the unknown bridegroom's initials had 
as usual been left on all the house linen when it was 
made, but in this case only the Count's coronet had 
to be worked, and a heavy strain on girlish inven- 
tion was thus avoided, for there is not much variety 
about a coronet, while it takes a good deal of imagi- 
nation to vary an initial several dozen times. 

Oddly enough, my admiration of some beautiful 

described in formal documents a will, for instance or in an 
announcement of death, as Maria Garcia y Perez, esposa de 
Antonio Lopez y Rodriguez, although her acquaintances speak of 
her as La Senora de Lopez, or more shortly, La de Lopez. 
Until they get well on into middle life, women, married or single, 
are always addressed by their Christian name without any prefix, 
even by men on a first introduction. 


stitching in this heraldic ornament seemed to upset 
Carmencita's equanimity, and in an instant her 
sunny smile and gay chatter turned into a tempest 
of sobs and tears. 

"You are cruel, barbarous, Dona Elena, to re- 
mind me of all I am losing ! How can you dream 
that I am consoled by being a rich Countess for the 
loss of the wealth of love lavished upon me by my 
adored Manolo ? I am a martyr, a victim to the 
ambition of my parents ! Even now at the last 
moment I think I shall declare that my heart is 
Manolo's and I will never marry any but him ! 
Madre mia de mi alma ! how terrible is this life ! 
Better that I had flung myself from the roof, as I 
wanted to do when they forbade me to see my 
Manolo : then I should have been spared this tor- 
ment, this broken heart which will end by dragging 
me into the grave ! " 

I was pretty sure that the theatrical outburst 
was provoked by a more or less conscious desire to 
play up to the situation and to be consistent to the 
last : for Carmencita, as I have hinted, had already 
made me her confidante, and Spaniards are born 
actors. She would feel better all her life for having 
dramatically rounded off the play to her audience of 
one, and I would not spoil the climax by any lack 
of sympathy. 

"True, true, my child," I answered, "you are 
indeed a martyr, but it is to duty. Think of the 
season in Madrid that you will be able to share with 
your sisters the theatres, the receptions, the dances ! 
With your birth and the Count's wealth you will 


certainly be received at Court, and what higher 
destiny could be offered to you than to take Pura 
and Dolores away from this dreary village into all 
the delights of the capital ? Have courage, my 
noble girl, and crush the dictates of your heart for 
their sake, and, believe me, happiness will be yours." 

"True, Dona Elena; how beautiful an ideal you 
put before me ! And I hear that Manolo has gone 
away and will not be back for six months, so what 
should I gain by refusing to marry the Count ? 
And it would make a terrible scandal. And then, 
have you seen my wedding dress ? It is too lovely 
for words ! Do you know, it has a train two yards 
long ! Cesar insisted ; he says I am so little I must 
have a train to give me presence. I have never 
worn a long dress in my life, and I am so afraid I 
shall stumble over it. How dreadful if I made 
myself ridiculous in the church, before all Konda ! 
Dona Elena, did you have a train two yards long to 
your wedding dress, and did you find it difficult to 
manage ? " 

The melodrama was over, Carmencita was once 
more all smiles and merriment, and my suggestion 
that she should put the wedding dress on and 
practise walking up and down the patio in it for my 
benefit sent her and all her companions into screams 
of laughter. She had made her little oblation to the 
god of love, and now was ready to enjoy to the full 
the material fruits of her sacrifice. 

She made me promise that I would come to her 
house and accompany the wedding party to the 
church, which is only a few yards from the ancestral 


home of the Campos Abandonados. I told her she 
had better let me efface myself in the back of the 
church, because I had no wedding garment in my 
suit-case and should do the party no credit. 

" Don't be absurd," she retorted, kissing me affec- 
tionately. " You look like a Duchess with a black 
mantilla over your white hair, and if you haven't 
got yours here, Mamma shall find one for you." 

Who could resist the pretty creature ? And she 
meant every word of it, at any rate while she was 
speaking. But she really was sincere in her desire 
that I should be there as an intimate friend, not 
a mere acquaintance, and when I arrived shortly 
before two o'clock on the eventful afternoon I found 
little ten-year-old Lola, otherwise Dolores, waiting 
for me at the door, having been ordered by the 
bride to see that I was taken special care of, " because 
being a foreigner I might not know exactly where to 
go, and thus might fail to enjoy myself." 

Such consideration really surprised me. Carmen 
might well have been excused for forgetting, on 
this great day of her life, that one of her guests 
was a foreigner ; yet she had not only planned for 
my pleasure, but, as I found, had asked more than 
one of her old friends to look out for me and see 
that I was placed where I could have a good view of 
the ceremony before the side altar of the Virgen del 
Carmen, at which she had worshipped throughout 
her short life. 



The wedding Our Lady of the Carmen : her lady-in-waiting 
The ancestral house of the Campos Abandonados The kiss- 
ing habit in Spain Muscatel and Manzanilla Arabic 
sweetmeats King Alfonso and the convent yemas The 
bride's dance Mantillas and a hat Good-bye to Carmencita. 

THIS image of the Virgin of the Carmen has. no 
particular artistic merit, but Carmencita was pro- 
moted to being her "lady-in-waiting" when she 
left school, and had taken great pride in keeping 
" her " Virgin's wardrobe in perfect order ; and to- 
day she had gone very early to Mass and had 
dressed the image, for the last time, in the festival 
robe of eighteenth-century brocade and the tulle 
veil she had herself embroidered to present to her 
Virgin on her first communion. She had also filled 
the silver vases with the tall stiff bouquets which 
are so much admired here, and had offered quite a 
number of gilded wax candles for a blessing on her 

And now she stood before the altar her own 
altar with her first long dress trailing behind her 
(she had not stumbled over it, but had made a 
most dignified entrance) and placed her helpless- 
looking little white hand in that of the stout, 
commonplace man, over thirty years her senior, 


whose word was henceforth to be her law (for a 
married woman in Spain has practically no civil 
rights), and who had already made it evident that 
he would be a jealous husband. It may, however, 
be remarked that marital jealousy is regarded by 
many Spanish wives as rather a compliment than 
otherwise, as showing that their husbands think 
them worth being jealous of. 

The ceremony was soon over, and while the bride 
and bridegroom, the bride's parents and godparents, 
and her brothers and next sister, went into the 
sacristy with the priest to sign and witness the 
register, little Lola slipped her hand into mine. 

" Garmencita told me to take you to our house 
now," she said. " I am too little to witness for 
her, and she was afraid you would go away, and 
she wants you to see her dance in her wedding 
dress before she leaves with Cesar." 

She led me out of the church and along the 
badly paved street, which was lined with spectators 
anxious to see the new Countess whom they had 
known from a baby. 

" There are only two carriages," said Lola, 
1 'mamma's and Cesar's. Can you believe it? 
Carmencita has to come home all alone with Cesar 
in his carriage ! She cried last night, and so did 
Pura and I, we all cried together. Fancy having 
to be left all alone with that horrid old man ! Do 
you know, she is afraid he will kiss her, and his 
ugly blue nose will disarrange her hair. That is 
the only thing she is afraid of being alone with 


A Spanish girl is never, under any circum- 
stances, left alone with her fiance", until she is 
actually married to him. There is always a mother, 
or an aunt, or some other female relative present to 
superintend the love-making. Small wonder that 
stolen interviews at the grating, with no listeners 
but the moon, have their charm. And perhaps the 
happiest marriages are those which come to pass, 
sometimes after years of parental opposition, be- 
tween lovers whose courtship began thus. They at 
least have a chance of getting to know each other, 
free from the restraint of the chaperone whose 
attentive ear makes all real confidence impossible. 

The house of the Campos Abandonados in Ronda 
is one of the most perfect examples of its kind in 
Spain. To the right of the spacious zaguan, as 
large as many a patio, are the stables, empty now, 
save for the Marchioness's mules. The sixteen 
mangers are pure Arabic work, built into the wall, 
with a cusped arch over each. Passing these we 
get to the " modern " part of the house, which was 
renovated and " restored " in the prosperous sixteenth 
century, when gold poured into Spain from her new 
colonies across the Atlantic. Beyond this patio, the 
walls of which are covered with roses, jessamine, and 
other creepers planted in the ground, we get a 
glimpse of the inner one, cool and shady under its 
white awning. This is the summer sitting-room, 
furnished with easy-chairs and lounges all gay with 
bright calico covers, tables with work-baskets, 
photographs, and knick-knacks, and the other trifles 
which ladies of gentle birth all the world over 


collect about them, books and newspapers only ex- 
cepted, for it is a rare thing to see anything to read 
in a Spanish lady's sitting-room. 

This inner patio is all just as it was when the 
Arabs ruled in Konda : columns, capitals, carved 
beams, round arches nothing has been altered since 
the conquest of the old town by the Catholic kings. 
In the mountains it is the fashion to paint every 
brick within reach with a solution of red ochre, and 
the maids, in their desire to add a touch of extra 
glory to the place for the wedding, had painted the 
arches as well as the brick floors. On one side of 
the arch nearest the staircase is a stone roughly 
carved and springing from a base very much older 
than the Arab invasion, and this was left of its own 
yellow stone colour, so that its extreme age was 
apparent. For this is one of those Greece-Roman 
houses of which I have spoken, and each of the 
successive races who iiave inhabited it used the 
remains of their predecessors' building and carving 
when they in their turn added to it. There was 
a third patio beyond this, from which one looked 
sheer down into the ravine 500 feet below, past 
arched openings giving light and air to subterranean 
chambers under the house, which are often said to 
be prison cells, but are in fact mazmorras for the 
storage of corn, wine, and oil. Indeed, there still 
exist in one of these cellars, half built, half cut out 
of the rock, a number of enormous oil- jars, quite 
large enough for the Forty Thieves to hide in. 

When I reached the house with Lola I found 
the inner patio transformed. Everything movable 


had been taken away, and the arcades on all four 
sides had been filled with chairs : the piano had 
been pushed to one side, the whole centre of the 
court was bare, and the blind organist of one of the 
churches, a couple of guitarists and a man with a 
bandurria (a tenor guitar) were busy tuning up, to 
the accompaniment of the shrill whistling of half 
a dozen canaries and the excited screams of the 
Marchioness's pet parrot. 

Two great seventeenth-century mirrors in hand- 
some carved frames painted red and gold had been 
brought downstairs and hung on two pillars opposite 
each other, and Lola made straight for one of these 
the moment we came in, to see, she said, if they 
reflected properly, but really to study her own 

" Carmencita was determined to have them 
brought down," she told me : " Papaito [diminu- 
tive of Papa] objected because he says they are so 
old that the frames might get broken, and they 
have never been moved since they were made ; but 
Carmen said she must see what she looked like, 
dancing seguidillas in her satin train, and Mamma 
said of course she should have what she wanted, 
now that she had been so good and obedient about 
marrying the Conde. Ay de mi de mi alma! I 
wonder what my husband will be like when my 
turn comes ! I do hope he won't be quite so old 
and ugly as Cesar." 

Her further confidences were cut short by the 
arrival of her father and mother in their ancient 
family coach, with leather curtains in place of 


windows, drawn by two great black mules whose 
bells jingled so loudly and the brass of whose harness 
was so bright as almost to hide the deplorable state 
of the leather. The portly Marchioness had barely 
time to recover her breath after the exertion of 
getting out, and to take up her post of honour in 
the patio, before the bride and bridegroom appeared, 
he almost as fat and short-winded as his mother-in- 
law, she looking extremely pretty with a flush on 
her olive cheeks and her usually sombre heavy- 
lidded eyes alight with excitement and pleasure at 
the openly expressed admiration of the crowd all 
along the road from the church. 

The instant they came in the whole place burst into 
life, for every corner was invaded by the number of 
guests who had been invited and the still greater 
number of those who had not. The well-to-do friends 
and relations were followed by the poor ones, then 
came the household servants, old and young, with 
their friends and relations, and then everybody, 
without distinction, who wanted to see the bride 
and wish her joy. And as these last seemed to be 
half the town, for a short time we were packed like 
sardines, while the new little Condesa, standing at 
her mother's side, was receiving resounding kisses 
on both cheeks from every woman, child, and old 
man in the crowd, the young men being apparently 
the only ones who might not claim the privilege. 

The amount of kissing done in Spain is extra- 
ordinary. Children as a matter of course put up 
their faces to the merest stranger who speaks to 
them, middle-aged ladies on notoriously bad terms 


would think it a grave breach of courtesy not to 
kiss loudly on meeting and parting in an afternoon 
call, young girls embrace effusively in the most 
public places, fathers sit with their babies on their 
knees, mumbling their fat little hands by the hour 
together, and all the servants expect to be kissed 
by the ladies of the family when they start on or 
return from a journey a most embarrassing custom 
if the mistress is an Englishwoman. More than 
once I have been in a shop when a woman has 
come in and put her baby on the counter, where- 
upon the shopman has left me to go and kiss the 
child, whom he probably had never seen before. 
Strangers will often stop short before a nice-looking 
child, and exclaim " Que mono ! " (what a pretty 
little thing) and bestow on it a couple of kisses that 
can be heard all down the street. Of late an attempt 
has been made in Madrid, at the instigation of the 
Queen, to stop this promiscuous kissing, and for 
one season at least it was the fashion to hang a 
label round the babies' necks when out walking, 
on which was written, " Please don't kiss me." 
But there is no diminution of embraces outside of 
the capital. 

As soon as every claimant to the cheeks of 
Carmencita had been satisfied, the uninvited guests 
went away almost as suddenly as they had come in, 
and the rest of the gathering moved on into the 
inner court, and turned their attention to tobacco, 
wine, and sweet cakes. The sons of the house and 
their friends carried round a tray of glasses in one 
hand and a bottle of Malaga, Manzanilla, or Muscatel 


in the other, and each guest was expected to empty 
his glass at once and replace it on the tray for 
the use of his neighbour. Then came the bride's 
sisters and their friends with trays full of sweet- 
meats and pastry made of almond paste, cocoa-nut 
paste, chocolate, custard with a variety of flavour- 
ings, and other sweets of Arabic origin, with un- 
translatable names, the recipes for making which 
are carefully preserved in a few convents, whose 
inmates sometimes have little left to live on save 
what they can earn by the sale of their cakes. 
Among these there is a popular kind called yemas, 
because made from the yolks of eggs (yemas). 
They look like the yolk of a hard-boiled egg, and 
are covered with transparent caramel of a surprising 

And here I cannot refrain from digressing to tell 
a little tale about King Alfonso. 

The first time that he and the Queen came to 
Seville was when their first baby, the little Prince of 
Asturias, was a few months old. The King, whose 
active habits and disregard of ceremony are well 
known, went out on the morning after their arrival 
for a walk through what is called the " Moorish " 
quarter of the old town, a maze of narrow streets 
little visited by sight-seers. Here he stopped at a 
certain convent famous for its sweets, and asked the 
"mother" who opened the little grille in the 
street door for "a packet of yemas for his wife and 
child." The good nun hesitated : she had not the 
remotest idea who her customer was, and the 
Mother Superior, she knew, had set aside all the 


best of the last batch to send as an offering to 
the baby Heir to the Throne. 

" Pardon me, Seiior," she stammered, divided 
between her desire not to lose a possible peseta and 
the difficulty of reconciling a refusal with her 
natural courtesy ; "I fear to-day it is impossible 
we we," and then, with a brilliant inspiration, 
"we do not sell to foreigners." 

" Oh, that's all right," said the King, " I am a 
Spaniard by birth and education, and my present 
address is the Alcazar of Seville." 

The conclusion of the purchase may be left to 
the imagination. 

I have never been able to manage more than 
two of these luscious sweets at a time, and little 
Lola became quite distressed when her sixth 
invitation to eat more and still more of the sugary 
delicacies proved unavailing. 

" I know what you will like," she said at last, 
" I am sure you will like that, for our North 
American friend 1 said it was the best thing in 
Ronda. It is time to hand those trays now, so I 
will run and get mine for you." 

And the next moment Lola was at my side 
again, pressing upon me slices of raw smoked ham, 
to be offered and eaten with the fingers, just as 
is done with dainties at wedding parties in Con- 
stantinople and Beyrout to-day. 

Undoubtedly the Andalucian acorn-fed hams 
are excellent, but it was rather a shock to have to 

1 To Spaniards "America" means Spanish America: the 
inhabitants of the U.S. are always Norteamericanos or Yanquis. 


start upon ham, and raw ham at that, when one had 
already eaten too many sweetmeats. 

" Don't you like ham ? " said poor Lola, her 
mouth drooping with disappointment. And then a 
brilliant idea struck her. She dumped her tray 
down on a vacant chair and ran off to the kitchen, 
returning in triumph with half of one of those iron- 
hard rolls known as roscas. This she thrust into 
my hand and planted a slice of ham on the top of 
it, saying with a sigh of relief 

"I know that is what you want, for the North 
American lady never would eat ham without bread. 
I am so glad I thought of it, because only a few 
minutes ago Carmencita told me to be sure and 
get you everything you like until she has time to 
come and talk to you. But now we are going 
to dance, so she won't have any time to spare 

To eat raw ham with one's fingers, as all the 
ladies round me were doing quite simply and 
naturally throwing the fragments that remained 
on the floor under their chairs may seem peculiar 
to our notions of table etiquette ; but nobody 
would laugh at these " country manners " who 
saw, as I did, the innate courtesy that lay beneath. 
That the bride at a fashionable wedding should 
have told off one of her sisters to show special 
attention to an elderly lady of no particular impor- 
tance, simply and solely because "being a foreigner 
she might feel strange," illustrates the traditional 
courtesy of well-bred Spaniards. And perhaps this 
funny little incident will explain to some of my 


readers why I love the real Spain and the real 
unconventionalised Spaniard. 

Now the piano, the guitars, and the bandurria 
struck up the seguidillas, whereupon Carmen and 
her sister Pura at once stood up to dance. The 
object of the two mirrors became apparent, for at 
every turn of the dance the bride was able to see 
herself in a fresh attitude, and her childlike delight 
in the folds of her long train, as she watched it 
sweeping after and around her, was a pretty sight. 
She had the reputation of being the best dancer in 
her native town, and loud cries of Muy bien and Ole 
greeted the conclusion of the performance. 

All these dances consist of what are called coplas 
(couplets), because the movements of the dance were 
originally interludes in the singing of verses, often 
traditional, among which extempore references to the 
happenings of the moment are introduced. Thus 
when the girls dance without any singing, a series 
of movements follow in sequence, lasting twenty 
minutes or more, according to the number of coplas 
that they may perform. To the uninitiated all the 
dances, and still more all the coplas, seem to be 
pretty much alike, when danced by girls only. But 
when one sees these dances performed professionally 
by a man and a woman together, one realises that 
every step, every turn of the head, and every move- 
ment of the body and arms, has had its origin in a 
drama of passion, of coquetry, or of courtship. One 
also realises why it is not permissible for youths 
and girls to dance them together, save in the in- 
timacy of a family gathering, and why even then 


the man must, so to speak, only play at taking part, 
snapping his fingers in response to the rattle of the 
castanets as the girl waves them over his head, and 
holding himself rigidly upright while his partner 
sways and bends as she whirls before and round 

The whole thing is essentially Oriental, and it 
needs only the glance of an eye or the turn of a 
hand to convert the graceful movements of ladies in 
a drawing-room into an exposition of sensuality. 

One understands therefore why Spanish ladies 
are so careful how they allow their daughters to 
dance even the apparently harmless seguidillas with 
men instead of girls for their partners. 

The usual form of concerted performance is for 
the men to sing the coplas and the girls to dance 
between each of them ; and when Carmencita had 
finished her performance, the guitarists struck up 
the rattling chords that preface the Peteneras. 
After much pressing on the part of the girls, Carmen- 
cita's eldest brother Paco, otherwise Francisco, was 
induced to sing, and here is a translation of his first 
and last verses, which he sang to the strange quaver- 
ing air without tune or rhythm, and full of the odd 
intervals and curious turns and flourishes peculiar 
to this kind of music, while the spectators accom- 
panied him with a fusillade of hand-clapping and 
shouts of applause which burst out at every pause. 

"My novia has deserted me, 

Child of my heart ; 
Thinking that I should grieve for her, 
Child of my heart. 


I am not sure whether I shall take another sweetheart now, 
Or wait and look about me through the summer. 

When I am on my death-bed, 

Child of my heart, 
Seat thyself at my bed-head, 

Child of my heart. 
Bring me a good veal cutlet, 
Two fowls and a nice beefsteak, 
And if this does not seem to thee enough 
Bring me anything else that occurs to thee." 

The wedding party thought this screamingly 
funny, and there were shouts of Otra copla! Otra 
copla! (another verse) when he had finished. But 
he made a sign to his second sister Pura, and another 
to the musicians, and the dancing began again. 

The peteneras are more dramatic and crisper in 
movement than the seguidillas, and the brother and 
sister did a great deal of rhythmical hand-clapping 
and stamping, curiously at variance with the senti- 
mental refrain of the song. When it was over, Pura 
dropped into the nearest seat, panting and fanning 
herself vigorously, while Paco slipped away to join 
the men, who from first to last sat in the outer patio 
and seemed to take no interest in the proceedings 
within, except when occasionally one of them planted 
himself in the entrance to commend some girl whose 
dancing he admired. 

Proceedings became increasingly lively as the 
afternoon advanced, though the decorum was never 
relaxed. It got hotter and hotter, and the air grew 
suffocating under the awning, but there was no pause 
in the dancing. As soon as one couple of girls ended 


another stepped out, and sometimes half a dozen 
were dancing together. All the grown-up girls wore 
high combs and white mantillas, which never seemed 
to become disarranged, and quantities of natural 
flowers on their heads and breasts, chiefly jessamine 
blossoms pulled off their stems and fastened together 
to form large rosettes another survival of Arabic 
customs. One would have expected to see the floor 
strewn with the flowers as the dancing went on, but 
I knew that every girl had spent at least an hour 
arranging her head-dress before she started for the 
wedding, and had taken good care that everything 
was firmly fixed. And then, however lively the 
dancing may be, it is always graceful, and there is 
never a jerky or violent movement, which accounts 
for these elaborate head-dresses being as neat at the 
end as they are at the beginning. 

Everything must finish some time, and presently 
the bridegroom, who had never come near the ladies 
since he and his wife entered the house, appeared at 
the entrance of the inner patio, his nose rather bluer 
than usual, and smelling strongly of smoke, to tell 
Carmencita that it was time to change her dress for 
the train. 

"Por Dios!" exclaimed the girl, "I had quite 
forgotten that I was going away. Come, Pura ; 
come, Lola, one more set of seguidillas : who knows 
when we shall dance together again ! " 

Sixteen-year-old Pura in her first mantilla, Lola 
with streaming hair and scanty petticoats little below 
her knees, and Carmencita with her two yards of 
train, made a very ill-assorted trio; but they did 


not concern themselves about the general effect. 
They danced no less than six coplas together, the 
last including some odd little jumps off the floor 
with both feet, quite the least graceful performance 
I had yet seen, and most inappropriate to a long 
train. And then, to a chorus of Oles the three 
stopped dancing, flung their arms round each other, 
burst into floods of tears over the imminent parting, 
and were all borne away sobbing by their mother 
and various sympathetic friends. 

The two younger sisters were still crying when 
they came downstairs an hour later with the bride 
in her travelling dress, a really charming arrange- 
ment of white muslin and blue ribbons, but Carmen- 
cita's face was almost hidden under an overwhelming 
straw hat covered with immense roses. 

Now she was once more all smiles, and beamed 
impartially on everybody as she moved towards the 
great doors amid a perfect fusillade of explosive 
kisses. How they managed to reach her face under 
that hat I could not understand, but I heard her 
say several times, " Cuidado con mi sombrero" 
(Mind my hat), while she moved towards me ; and 
as she embraced me I discovered why she was leaving 
her home smiling instead of in a flood of hysterical 
tears, as Spanish brides usually do. 

" Isn't my hat enchanting ? " she whispered in my 
ear ; " you know it is the first hat I ever had in 
my life, and Cesar actually ordered it for me from 
Gibraltar ! Isn't he an angel ? And we are going 
to Madrid, and then to Paris, and he is going to buy 
me ever so many more ! But don't tell anybody ; I 


want to pretend I am quite accustomed to wearing 
a hat." 

The fascinating novelty carried her through all 
the adieux and safe into the carriage with her bride- 
groom, and the last we saw of Carmencita was her 
laughing face as she straightened the monstrosity, 
which she had almost knocked off against the carriage 
door as she got in. 


The " season of the baths" Furnished apartments without beds 
The amenities of the Balneario Sea views at a discount 
Bathing costumes : flounces and frills The force of example 
Happy swimmers. 

THE " season of the baths," as the summer holidays 
are here called, is a very serious business indeed. In 
the fashionable seaside resorts such as San Sebastian, 
Santander, Malaga, etc., it is possible to get a com- 
fortably furnished villa or flat for a few weeks, 
though only at a ruinous cost ; but in the smaller 
places it was until lately difficult to get any accom- 
modation at all outside of the Balneario or Hotel 
for Bathers, unless one took a so-called furnished 
house and sent the missing necessaries from one's 
own home by carrier or train ; for the furnishing in 
such houses generally consisted mainly of more or 
less rickety chairs. 

Personal luggage, of course, goes with the traveller, 
but things which do not come into that category, 
and they are many, must be booked and paid for 
separately. What exactly constitutes personal lug- 
gage varies a good deal with the taste and fancy of 
the booking-clerk. At one station, for instance, 
they flatly refused to take my jamugas (a folding 
donkey saddle described on p. 66), and at another 



an obliging porter tied them on to my suit-case and 
they went through without difficulty. But speaking 
generally, nothing but portmanteaus, bags, and such 
like are admitted, with one notable exception. About 
bedding there is never any trouble. A mattress for 
each member of the party, with its pillows, sheets, 
and blankets, will all go as personal luggage, though, 
as the limit of weight is only 60 Ibs. per head, you 
may have to pay a considerable sum for excess. 
You can also book your bed and bedding (which it 
is just as well to take with you to a " furnished 
house" at any of the smaller seaside places) together 
with other immediate necessaries, by grande vitesse, 
when it is supposed to travel by the same train as 
yourself, and to be accessible immediately on arrival. 
But if there happens to be a crowd at the departure 
station, it is as likely as not that the things booked 
by grande vitesse will be left behind. 

This happened to some Spanish acquaintances of 
mine one summer. They had booked everything 
except the children's lunch and such trifles as they 
could take in their hands, and they arrived at the 
village where they and we were to spend the holidays 
late at night and dead tired, without any luggage at 
all. The neighbours set to work and improvised 
beds for the smallest children, and the mothers, 
aunts, and sisters sat in rocking-chairs all night. 

" What else is to be done ? " they said philoso- 
phically ; " this sort of thing always happens if you 
go to the baths in the fashionable season, when 
everybody wants to be there at once." 

None of them were at all cross or depressed, 


although they were very grateful when we provided 
a mattress or two for the tired babies to be put to 
bed on. 

Travellers who want to see the Spanish bathing 
season in full swing may put up at the Balneario 
with which every little seaside resort is provided. 
But they must be prepared to get no sleep or rest 
as long as they stay there, for the noise is inconceiv- 
able. There will be anything from fifty to two 
hundred men, women, and children but chiefly 
children of all ages, and all agog to make the most 
of the seven, fourteen, or twenty-one days of bathing 
prescribed by the family physician. For be it known 
that we don't bathe as we please in 'Spain, but under 
medical orders and strictly for the good of our health, 
and many people believe that all the virtue in salt 
water would be lost did they take one bath too many 
or too few. And from the moment they wake in 
the morning until the last frequenter of the hotel 
bar goes to bed some time in the small hours, the 
din of voices and the clatter of feet on the brick 
floors never ceases for one instant. 

Most Spaniards have extraordinarily loud voices. 
Of course it is usual in any country to shout at a 
foreigner under the impression that he will under- 
stand better if you deafen him to begin with. But 
in Spain it is not only the foreigner who is bawled 
at, for Spaniards all shout at each other in the 
bosoms of their families to such a degree that when I 
first came to live here I got the impression that they 
were continually quarrelling. Men and women alike 
have this unpleasant habit, and although many of 


them are aware what a noise they make and remark 
that it is a bad custom, they seem constitutionally 
incapable of lowering their voices. 

When I am almost driven crazy with the strain 
on my ears I pretend to be puzzled at what is said, 
and politely remark 

" I am stupidly ignorant of Castilian, but I shall 
understand better if you will kindly talk a little 

"Slower" (mas despacito) is a euphemism for 
"lower," and the request never fails to elicit a 
pleasant smile and a comment on the shrillness of 
Spanish voices, in a half whisper. But in two 
seconds habit holds sway again, and the din rises 
higher and higher until one feels that one's only refuge 
is flight unless one wishes to qualify for Bedlam. 

The children of the well-to-do unlike those of 
the poor are quite undisciplined, and are allowed 
to shriek and scream as they please. Their noise 
does not worry their parents, who take it as a 
matter of course, and it never occurs to them that 
it can annoy any one else. When dozens of children 
of all ages are collected together in a Balneario, 
the racket is such as might have inspired Dante 
with an idea for a tenth circle in his hell. If you 
suggest that some white-faced, heavy-eyed creature 
of two or three years old would be better in bed 
than in the hall of an hotel blazing with electric 
light at ten or eleven at night, its parents merely reply 
"No quiere " (He doesn't want to), which is considered 
an entirely sufficient reason for letting their sickly 
infant sit up to all hours. 


The children mostly dine at the table d'hote of 
the Balneario in small towns, and when the endless 
meal is at last over some one begins to thump dance 
tunes on a cracked piano, and the little girls from 
six to fourteen swarm into the general sitting-room 
and start dancing. When midnight approaches and 
the children drop asleep from sheer weariness, filling 
the benches and flopping across their parents' knees, 
the grown-up young ladies and their attendant 
swains take the floor, and keep the fun going till 
2 or 3 a.m. This is not one night but every night, 
and not in one Balneario but in every Balneario, 
throughout the month of August. 

I once spent a day and a night in one of these 
hotels, which are often pretty and sometimes have 
beautiful sea views and other advantages which 
should make them really attractive out of the season, 
did they not all close as soon as it is over. For 
my sins I was at the Balneario of Our Lady of the 
Rosary in the height of the summer. I fled by 
the earliest train I could get next morning, and the 
landlord was most willing for me to go, for he had 
a married couple with three children ready to pack 
themselves into the tiny room I had engaged, which 
contained nothing in the way of furniture save a 
looking-glass, one chair, a small enamelled wash- 
basin, and one huge bed. 

The last thing Spaniards seem to care about in 
the bathing season is the sea. The Balneario of 
Our Lady of the Rosary looked out right over the 
Atlantic, whose blue waves washed the foot of the 
low cliff on which the village stood. I never saw 


anything more lovely than the sunset over the sea 
the evening I was there, and the hotel dining-room 
opened on to a broad terrace supplied with numbers 
of chairs and tables at which people sat and sipped 
refrescos a mild beverage consisting largely of 
sugar and water. Of all the people thus engaged 
I was Che only one who turned to look at the 
sunset. And when after dinner I went out to the 
post office I found all the occupants of all the nice 
new houses built by themselves to live in during 
the brief bathing season, seated on uncomfortable 
chairs on the footway in the narrow, dirty street, 
and all with their backs to the sea. Their houses 
all had terraces running out to the edge of the 
water at high tide, like that of the Balneario, but 
as I strolled back to the hotel in the moonlight 
along the shore I noticed that there was not a 
single human being to be seen on any of these 
terraces. I had never imagined such a waste of 
opportunity, or such a strange idea of enjoying the 
sea. But I have been at a good many Spanish 
bathing-places since then, and have always been 
regarded as a harmless lunatic on account of my 
preference for sitting with my face to the sea 
instead of at my street door watching the passers-by. 
The bathing at that village was excellent, the 
best, I think, that I have ever known, though a 
trifle dangerous for any but strong swimmers when 
a stormy day left a heavy roll and undertow. The 
Balneario, which had a monopoly of the bathing- 
houses for about half a mile of beach, provided a 
sufficiency of buoyed ropes, and a leaky old boat 

ii ii i n 

n n 

n n 



was anchored a hundred yards out all the summer 
in case of accidents. This boat was only accessible 
by swimming, there being no other anywhere within 
range, and it had no oars, so its precise use on an 
emergency does not appear. It filled and sank 
whenever the sea got up, but it was always dragged 
out, emptied, and replaced in position by the men 
in attendance, by the time the sea was calm enough 
for the visitors to bathe again. 

Although we never stayed at the Balneario, we 
spent several summers in the village, where we took 
a little cottage and furnished it with what our 
Spanish friends thought very bad taste, for it con- 
tained plenty of books and tables and not a single 
pier-glass. Here we attracted a good deal of 
attention by sitting out at all hours, when the 
sun was not too blazing hot, under an awning rigged 
up on a sandhill facing the sea, where we watched 
with an amusement equal to their astonishment at 
our eccentricities, the amenities of Spanish families 
taking their baths. 

The first year we were there the women all wore 
heavy serge gowns right down to their feet, mostly 
edged with a broad frill of the same material. 
Strange to say, one of them managed to swim, and 
to swim well, in this most unsuitable garment. Her 
husband, who was lame and could only walk with 
a stick, also swam well. He used to fling his stick 
ashore as soon as he was in the water to his waist, 
and he and his wife would swim out to the old 
boat, her flowing robe ballooning largely behind 
her. Later on we came to know them and their 


family, and the eldest son, a nice boy of about 
sixteen, told us as politely as he could how dread- 
fully shocked the Spanish ladies had been that 
first summer at our indelicate bathing garments, 
consisting of blouses with short sleeves, knickers, 
and a skirt to the knees. No doubt our by no 
means modern bathing dresses surprised them, 
although we had no idea of it at the time, for that 
year even the men wore long trousers, sometimes 
trimmed with little frills round the ankles, while 
coats covered their arms to the wrists. True, the 
men so attired did not attempt to swim, but bobbed 
up and down with their wives and daughters, all 
holding on to the rope for dear life and never 
moving an inch from where the bathing-man had 
put them, until he returned, when he thought they 
had been in long enough, with sheets to envelop 
the ladies and bring them to shore again. 

Yes, all the ladies were carefully wrapped in 
sheets when they came out, although no human 
eye could discern the form so carefully hidden under 
their voluminous draperies. The only creatures who 
were allowed to expose any part of their anatomy 
to direct contact with the water were the babies. 
They, poor little miseries, were carried down stark 
naked to the water's edge and handed over to the 
bathing-men. These, no doubt with the best 
intentions, would take the screaming mite in one 
hand and dip it head first into a good big wave, 
using their free hand to disengage the frantic clutch 
of the terrified creatures when they came up in an 
agony of fright from their ducking and found them- 


selves, choked and blinded by the salt water, turned 
upside down for a second dip. Three times was 
this brutality repeated every day, and if the piteous 
cries grew less the third time, the parents, watching 
the proceedings from the shore, would congratulate 
themselves that the child was beginning to enjoy 
his bath. 

To me it seemed more likely that he was begin- 
ning to die from it, and indeed a summer rarely 
passes without at least one or two small children 
coming to an untimely end at the Balnearios. But 
nothing can convince the mothers that such treat- 
ment is too violent for babies. They themselves 
took their first sea baths under those conditions, 
and so did their parents before them, and therefore 
it must be the right thing and produce good results 
in the long-run, no matter how the little one may 
suffer in health and nerves at the moment. 

Infant mortality is always high in Spain. In 
summer, I understand, it is higher than at any 
other time, and I do not wonder at it. 

That first summer the lame Don Basilio and 
his wife were the only swimmers except ourselves. 
But the next year several schoolgirls begged him 
to teach them to swim, and as the season went on 
and they made progress in the new accomplishment 
the flowing skirts were exchanged for trousers, and 
the trousers gradually grew shorter until a reason- 
able amount of bare leg was displayed. One or 
two of the girls managed to swim out to the boat 
before their twenty-one baths came to an end, and 
indeed the mystic number was treated with un- 


Travelling in Spain : four grades of trains but only one price 
Ten miles an hour Dangerous speed Amusing the 
villagers A slow night journey Suppressing a raconteur 
" Shall we go 1 " Hot water while we wait The paralytic 
Taking a photograph The beauty at the window A dis- 
courteous custom Empty minds The toothpick A gentle- 
man of the old school Hospitality at Antequera A Spanish 
dinner table Delightful memories. 

TRAVELLING in this country is really a trial to the 
patience. It is true that the main lines have now 
been made comfortable, with corridor carriages, 
well-cushioned seats, and good lighting on the night 
trains ; but the unpunctuality and the purposeless 
delays all along the line make even a short journey 
tiresome and a long one intolerable, unless one 
resolutely determines only to look at the comic side 
of things. 

There are four classes of passenger trains, and 
we may take the journey from Madrid to Seville 
as typical of the rest. This line is used by the 
King, the Court, and the governing classes generally, 
and is travelled by nearly every tourist who comes 
to Spain, for every one wants to see Seville, 
Cordova, and Granada, while naturally the capital, 
with its superlative picture gallery, is the objective 

of all foreigners interested in art. 




The slowest of these trains is the mixto, a sort 
of cross between a passenger and a luggage train. 
The distance from Madrid to Seville is 358 miles, 
and the mixto does the journey in twenty-four hours 
and twenty minutes, or at the rate of nearly fifteen 
miles an hour, if it gets in punctually, which it 
seldom or never does. Next we have the correo or 
mail train, which nominally takes eighteen hours 
one way and nineteen the other the more rapid 
journey being rather under twenty miles an 
hour. Then comes the expreso, which takes 
eleven and a half hours one way and twelve the 
other, travelling at the rate of about thirty miles 
an hour ; and then the expreso de lujo, which does 
the journey in eleven hours and forty minutes, 
being a shade faster than the expreso. Both these 
last are trains de luxe, with dining-car and the 
wagon-lits Company's carriages, and are usually 
pretty punctual. These trains, be it remembered, 
are running on one of the chief main lines of Spain. 

On the branch lines nothing like these speeds 
are attained. On one of these, as I was told by 
a friend who often had to travel by it, the usual 
rate was ten miles an hour, and the district petitioned 
the railway to reduce the speed, which was con- 
sidered highly dangerous. The petition was refused, 
on the ground that if the train went any slower 
it would come too expensive, on account of the 
increased coal consumption. 

With true Spanish inconsistency the same fares 
are charged for all these trains except the trains 
de luxe, for which an excess of ten per cent, is 


levied on the first-class fares. On these trains 
there is no second-class, and on one of them only 
a single third-class carriage. The mixto is horribly 
uncomfortable, and the carriages of all classes are 
usually dirty, but one need not fear any rudeness 
or roughness from one's fellow-travellers. 

It was once my fate to travel by a mixto from 
a wayside station where I had missed the express 
after a long donkey ride across country. My 
men had never been there, but when it became 
evident that by no possibility could I catch the 
train I had intended, they declared, in their desire 
to reassure me, that there was a decent posada 
close to the station where I could comfortably spend 
the night. We arrived to find not even a cottage, 
but only a choza or hovel, built of stones and 
thatched with reeds, and a canteen consisting of 
the bar and a tiny room off it, where the railway 
people took their meals, for it was a junction of 
some importance, and several men were employed 
there. I had no alternative but to go on by the 
mixto, and I sat for seven mortal hours in that 
train, travelling in all eighty-four miles. It was 
about three in the morning when I reached a town 
which gave reasonable promise of possessing some 
sort of hotel, and at least half of that time we 
spent at stations, all lighted up and all crowded 
with villagers, just as if it were day. 

I am bound to say that although the seats were 
so hard and so grimy, and the jolting of the train 
so incessant that sleep was impossible, I neither 
heard nor saw anything offensive, although my 


fellow-travellers were all men, and there was not 
one gentleman, in the conventional sense of the 
term, among the lot. One man, it is true, began 
a funny story which it was probably just as well 
that I did not understand, but before he came to 
the point his friends hushed him up, on the ground 
that they had heard it all before, whereupon the 
facetious person so promptly dropped asleep that 
I guessed he had been looking too long on the wine- 
cup before he started. Nothing was said to me, 
but I quite understood that the raconteur was 
silenced out of consideration for my presence. 

The correo on the main lines is much better than 
the mixto ; the first and second class even have 
corridor carriages, and these are roomy and com- 
fortably cushioned. If time were absolutely no 
object as indeed seems to be the case in Spain 
one need not complain of the correo at all. But to 
people who prefer getting to their journey's end to 
sitting in the train, the endless delays and the pur- 
poseless dawdling are intensely irritating. The train 
stops at every little station, apparently to amuse 
the villagers, for often no one gets either in or out, 
though there will be from twenty to a hundred 
loafers on the platform. After long waiting a guard 
is heard to inquire, "Shall we go?" (Vamonos?); 
some other official says, " Let's go ! " ( Vamonos !) ; a 
third rings a bell and shouts, " My lords the travellers 
to the train!" (Senores viajeros, al trenf); some 
one blows a horn, the engine whistles two or three 
times, and we drift out as vaguely as we drifted in, 
ten, twenty, or thirty minutes before. 


At one station on a very dull journey which 1 
often have occasion to make, an extra delay seems 
to have been arranged to enable the wives of the 
stationmaster, the canteen keeper, and the one porter 
to obtain a supply of hot water from the engine 
boiler, for every time I travel that way I see a group 
of these ladies filling cans and buckets from a steam- 
ing jet which certainly is not let off anywhere else. 

At another station we spend an interminable 
time watering the engine. This station is only half 
an hour from a junction where the train waits, 
according to schedule, for thirty minutes, and why 
the water cannot be taken in then, the demon of 
dilatoriness that presides over Spanish railways 
alone knows. This, like the distribution of hot 
water, does not occur only once in a way. I have 
been over the line eight times, for my sins, and have 
seen the same incidents every time. 

Once our train waited an extra ten minutes while 
a poor paralysed old woman was conveyed in front 
of the engine from a train alongside of ours to the 
exit from the station, where a donkey awaited her. 
The porter carried her slung over his shoulder like 
a sack of potatoes, head downwards. We all thought 
she was dead until we saw her hands waving and 
heard her shrill voice bidding the man shift her into 
an easier position, which he did, by no means un- 
kindly. She was a very poor woman, and her old 
husband trudged after her, bearing a couple of worn 
pillows and a bag of food. It was clear that there 
was no money wherewith to tip that porter. No 
one grumbled at the time lost by our train, which 


was already close on an hour late, although she might 
just as well have been carried behind it and thus 
let us go on. They only said, " Poor creature ! She 
seems very ill." On the other hand, no one thought 
of producing pesetas or even coppers to alleviate her 
sufferings, though probably if I had been ready- 
witted enough to suggest it, most of my travelling 
companions would have contributed. Spaniards are 
curiously destitute of imagination in such cases, but 
when I have had the presence of mind to propose 
some such obvious charity as the above they have 
quickly followed suit, expressing admiration of our 
English initiative. 

The funniest example of official indifference to 
the time table that I have seen occurred on a journey 
from Algeciras to Bobadilla. During a long pause 
at a wayside station one of our party got out to 
photograph a group of picturesque beggars for on 
the Andalucian railways beggars are chartered liber- 
tines, permitted to climb up to the windows and 
pester the travellers for money. Before he had 
finished the bell rang for the train to start, but 
seeing how he was engaged the stationmaster 
politely turned to the guard. 

" Wait a moment longer," he said ; " do you not 
see that the gentleman is taking a photograph ? " 

Let it not be supposed, however, that Spanish 
travellers find their slow trains such a trial as we do. 
The men chat, smoke, eat, drink, and sleep, and the 
women eat and sleep the elder ones, that is. The 
younger ones spend most of their time standing at 
the window. This is a very favourite occupation 


of all Spanish travellers in first-class compartments. 
Directly the train slows into a station every window 
of the corridor carriage will be occupied by a more 
or less portly person of either sex, who thrust their 
heads and bodies out as far as they will go, to stare 
up and down at the exceedingly uninteresting crowd 
assembled to see the train come in. Except on Sun- 
days and holidays, when the station is to the village 
what the fashionable promenade is to the town, the 
people who loaf on the platform are by no means the 
pick of the population, being merely those who have 
nothing else to do. But this does not seem to 
diminish the Spanish traveller's interest in them, 
and he will block the windows till the very last 
minute, watching the village idiot or the diseased 
beggar until he is quite out of sight, as if all his 
hopes of happiness depended on getting the very 
last glimpse of the unpleasing spectacle. 

The girls who travel have, it must be admitted, 
another object in planting themselves at the window 
while the train is in a station. They want not so 
much to see as to be seen, and faute de mieux, the 
open admiration of the village loafer helps to pass 
the time. On one occasion I travelled for many 
hours in company with the wife and daughter of a 
man whose office under the Government argued a 
good social position and a certain amount of cultiva- 
tion. The mother talked of nothing but the excel- 
lence of the food in the town we had both been 
visiting, and the girl never spoke at all save to ask 
me at intervals where we were and how much behind 
time the train was now. At every station she planted 


herself in the window, and as she was strikingly 
handsome with unusually brilliant colouring, a group 
of yokels never failed to collect in front of our com- 
partment, staring at her for all they were worth. 

" I cannot imagine," the mother once remarked 
to me, " why so many people stand there." 

" Well," I said with perfect sincerity, " they 
probably do not often have any one so pretty as your 
daughter to look at." 

The mother bridled and smiled, and immediately 
told the girl what I had said. 

After that our young beauty never left the window 
at all presumably lest some admirer should miss 
the opportunity of gazing on her charms from the 
moment the train drew into any station until it left 
again ; and I calculated afterwards that she had stood 
three solid hours on end in the corridor, only varying 
her position to move to my window at the opposite 
end of the compartment when we stopped at a 
station where the platform was on that side. 

This discourteous habit, common to men and 
women alike, of blocking the first-class carriage 
windows regardless of the comfort and convenience 
of the other passengers, is in some ways the most 
unpleasant feature of travelling in Spain. It is 
practically confined, however, to the well-to-do, and 
I am bound to say that on short journeys, where 
a little fatigue does not matter, I often prefer to 
travel second or even third class, so that I may get 
my fair share of the view and the air, which is im- 
possible when travelling with Spaniards who can 
afford to pay the higher fares. On the other hand, 


as they seem quite unable to amuse themselves in 
other ways (for very few of them ever read in the 
train, or indeed in their own houses), perhaps one 
ought not to grudge them the delightful distraction 
and the wide enlightenment to be obtained by 
looking out of the carriage window. 

In other ways many little courtesies are shown. 
Food, for instance, is always offered, even though 
you are at the moment unpacking your own lunch 
basket. This is as a rule a form, which means no 
more than the offer of his house, at such a number 
of such a street, which your travelling acquaintance 
will make you when he gets out at his station, well 
knowing that you and he will never meet again in 
this world. But sometimes the offer to share with 
you is quite genuine, as in the case of a stout Catalan 
commis-voyageur, who, after I had politely declined 
three times over to divide his lunch, having just 
finished my own before his eyes, took two elegant 
celluloid toothpicks out of his pocket, and laid one 
upon my knee, saying, "That at least you will 
accept ! " 

He afterwards told me that he "travelled" for 
a German firm which made celluloid ornaments, and 
I always regret that I returned his toothpick with- 
out reading the advertisement printed on it. I 
thought he might want it, and I knew I did not, 
but I believe he really did wish me to accept his 
gift and take a note of his firm. 

When one has the luck to make the acquaintance 
of a Spanish gentleman of the old school, one realises 
what a loss is inflicted on society by his retirement 


from the world, for men of his kind dislike the new 
aristocracy of wealth, and shrink from competing 
with the cursileria of the large towns as much as 
Don Quixote himself would have done. 

On my way to Granada one lovely May day I 
had the rare good luck to travel with one of these 
gentlemen. I was accompanied by an old friend 
whom I had not seen for many years, and we con- 
gratulated ourselves on finding an empty compart- 
ment when we got into the train. Just before we 
started, however, a slim well-dressed man of forty 
or so clambered up the precipitous steps into the 
carriage, with a pot of carnations under each arm. 
This alone would have prepossessed one in his 
favour, for the male Spaniard of any class above the 
labourer usually thinks it degrading to be seen carry- 
ing anything in his hands, and leaves the parcels to be 
borne by his wife if there is no servant handy. Our 
man not only carried his own carnations, but was a 
great deal more careful of them than of his smart 
personal luggage, and finally, after asking permis- 
sion, he wedged them up in the rack between his 
valise and mine, explaining that he had bought 
them at the last moment to take to his wife, and 
was anxious that they should come to no harm. 

The ice thus broken, we soon got into conversa- 
tion, and when he found that we were going to stop 
the night at Antequera he seemed quite delighted. 

"That is my own town," he said, " I can assure 
you that it is worth a visit, and I wish more 
foreigners knew how beautiful is the situation, and 
how many objects of interest it contains. There is 


also a quite passable hotel, and the people of Ante- 
(jiirni In .(I m;inn<Ts, ;m<l do not, worry tourists 

in the streets, although they see comparatively few 
Kn^lisli 1,-hlii's, or \vh;i,t is even of ^renter interest 
to them English ladies' hats." 

Most unluckily, he said, he would only be at 
home himself for quite a few hours, as he had to go 
on to Malaga early next morning, but he was deeply 
inter. in ;ircli;iM)lo;;y, ;nxl on limlin^ that my 
tastes lay in that direction, he said that, no matter 
what business he had to set aside, he must have the 
pleasure of showing me some very curious capitals 
of columns, recently unearthed from a fourteenth- 
century convent wall, the period of which he found 
himself unable to determine. I accepted the invita- 
tion with delight, for not only did I know by 
experience that great interest often attaches to 
objects "found in the convent walls," but. I knew 
it was the chance of a lifetime for my friend to see 
the interior of a Spanish gentleman's country house. 

Having fixed the hour for our call and given 
us his address, our friend proceeded to spread his 
belongings over three seats, for we were approaching 
a junction, and he explained that he did not mean 
anyone else to get in, as he had slept badly over- 
night and wanted a good nap. 

The station was crowded and many people came 
and looked into our compartment, shook their heads 
at the much-engaged seats, and went off to stow 
themselves in the packed compartments elsewhere. 
Our friend smiled pleasantly, showing beautiful 
white teeth under a short fair moustache for lie 


was as blond as a Dane, with brown hair and blue 
eyes and suggested that the stationmaster should 
put on another carriage when an insistent lady with 
several children tried, in vain, to force her way in 
against his polite resistance. 

And when we were safe out of the station he 
pulled out his three seats to form a sofa, as is done 
when these compartments are converted into sleep- 
ing carriages at night, and calmly slumbered until 
we got to Bobadilla some three hours later. This 
is the Clapham Junction of southern Spain, and it 
was impossible for our fellow-traveller, for all his fine 
manners and general grand air, to appropriate our 
whole compartment any longer; but, as he remarked, 
he had had his sleep and now no longer required the 
extra seats. So other travellers were welcome to 
come in, and the more so because we should all 
three be getting out at the next station but one. 

" You will require half an hour to secure your 
rooms at the hotel, and half an hour to rest," he said 
as we parted, we in one omnibus and he in another, 
with many apologies for not being able to offer us 
his carriage, because his return was unexpected, and 
no one had come to meet him. " But I hope you 
will be able to reach my house conveniently by six 
o'clock, that I may present my wife and children to 
you, and show you my capitals in a good light." 

He had, of course, given us his card, but the name 
told us nothing except that he was not a man of 
title. So in the omnibus we took the opportunity 
of obtaining a little information about him. We 
found he was the Alcalde, or Mayor, which means 


that he was little short of a king in the town, for 
the Alcalde here holds a position social, political, and 
municipal, considerably higher than that of any Lord 
Mayor in England. In fact we have at home no 
authority with which the Spanish Alcalde can be 
compared, for he is appointed by the Government, 
and can make and unmake at will any of the 
numerous paid officials under him. Alcaldes there- 
fore generally have as many enemies as friends 
during their term of office, but our Alcalde of 
Antequera seemed to have gained the affections of 
his townspeople, not by political favouritism, but by 
hia personal qualities. 

" He is the richest and the best man in the town," 
said the respectable tradesman with whom we talked 
in the omnibus ; " and I should not say that if it 
was not true, for he is a Conservative and I am a 
Liberal, and I lost my job at the Town Hall when 
they made him Alcalde, so I've kept a sharp look 
out for any mistakes he might make." 

At six o'clock, according to promise, we made 
our way to the Alcalde's house, and were ushered by 
a smiling servant, evidently on the look out for us, 
across a patio blazing with geraniums and heavy 
with the scent of roses, heliotrope, and jessamine, 
through a long shady gallery with fine eighteenth- 
century furniture ranged along the walls, into a 
charming little reception-room, furnished with light- 
painted wood, and adorned with the usual window 
blinds, chair-backs, and table-covers of exquisite 
needlework, edged and inset with fine lace and 


To us here appeared our Alcalde leading his 
handsome wife and followed by his two good- 
looking children. We were a little late, and he 
apologised for the family being at dinner ; but if we 
would come into the dining-room and " accompany " 
them at their meal, without ceremony and as 
friends, he and the Senora would soon have done 
eating and be ready to take us round their and 
our house and show us any little object of interest 
which might repay us for the trouble of looking 
at it. 

Of course we agreed, while apologising for our 
unpunctuality, and regretting the disturbance we 
were causing in the family. 

But when we entered the large and well- 
furnished dining-room, we found that the whole 
thing had been planned by our hospitable acquaint- 
ance in order to induce us to dine with him ; for 
places had been laid for us and they had not even 
begun their dinner. So we had no alternative but 
to sit down and accept the admirably cooked dishes 
that were set before us, or feel that by not eating 
with the family we were compelling our friends to 
swallow their food in haste while they kept us 
uncomfortably waiting. 

The table was well furnished with good silver 
and glass, and china bearing the Alcalde's arms. A 
vase of choice roses stood in the centre, and family 
portraits hung round the walls. We really might 
have been at an English dinner party, save for the 
unceremonious attendance of women servants with 
silk kerchiefs on their shoulders and flowers in their 


hair, who casually strolled in and out with large 
dishes, which they always offered first to their 
master, then to their mistress, and afterwards to 
the guests. This is etiquette in old Spain, dating 
from the times when the food might perhaps be 
poisoned, and the host helped himself first to show 
that it could safely be eaten. 

The dishes too, though tempting and well-cooked, 
were somewhat different from ours. First came a 
white soup thickened with vermicelli and having a 
strong flavour of fowl. Then a dish of frituras, 
a mass of milk sauce thickened with flour and 
minced ham, allowed to cool, then shaped into the 
form of pears, rolled in fine bread-crumbs, and 
fried with a skill which makes a dish of this kind 
one of the most appetising in the Spanish menu. 
Then came cold boiled fish, fresh from Malaga, 
served with a sauce made of yolk of egg and oil, 
and garnished with raw tomatoes, raw onions, and 
green and red pimientos, a kind of capsicum without 
any heat. A fowl followed, whose lack of flavour 
showed that it had been boiled in the soup ; then 
the inevitable pucker o or cocido, also boiled in the 
soup, and consisting of garbanzos, ham, bacon fat, 
beef, haricot beans, and the stems of an edible 
thistle. Then an excellent concoction of custard 
with tiny meringues floating on the top. After 
this, biscuits, fruit, quince cheese, fresh goat- 
milk cheese, and various sweetmeats. Red and 
white wine w T ere on the table, and last of all came 
a cup of capital black coffee. This was the every- 
day fare of the Alcalde's family, but not of the 


Alcalde. He told us that his stomach was delicate, 
and took nothing but a couple of poached eggs 
and a glass of hot milk which amply accounted 
for his elegant slenderness, so unlike the enormous 
obesity that afflicts most Spaniards of his wealth 
and position after twenty years or so of the feeding 
above described. 

What was most noteworthy in his house, 
however, was the daintiness and luxury of the 
dining-room appointments, for it is not unusual to 
find, even in the homes of well-to-do people, only 
just enough knives, forks, and plates to go round 
once, while flowers on the table or anywhere else in 
the house are unheard of. Perhaps the excessive 
scantiness of the cutlery and crockery have much 
to say to the absence of those invitations to lunch 
and dinner which are the current social coin with us. 
The idea that a pretty and well-found table adds to 
the comfort and refinement of life at home never 
seems to have occurred to the mass of middle-class 
Spain ; and of course where the family share a 
tumbler and eat three or four courses off the same 
plate, a visitor at meals is not likely to be welcome. 

No doubt there are many people in the position 
of our Alcalde who live as elegantly as he does, 
but it is a great exception to find oneself invited to 
take one's place as a guest at their table ; and his 
hospitality, the beauty of the town, the glorious 
mountain views all round, the wealth of wild 
flowers on the hills, and the many remains of 
ancient buildings, all combined to mark Antequera 
with a white stone in my friend's and my memories. 


We see now that, although the "offer of the 
house " on the part of a travelling acquaintance has 
become in ninety-nine cases out of one hundred 
degraded into the merest empty compliment, the 
root whence grew this flower of a fine courtesy 
thrives in the soil to which it is native. For there 
are still Spanish gentlemen whose hospitality is as 
graceful as it is instinctive, and who, when they 
tell you that at such-and-such a number of such-and- 
such a street " you have your house and a friend," 
really hope and expect that if occasion offers you 
will take them at their word and accept their frank 



A saddle for femininity September fairs Three kinds of 
hostelries A night at the street door Bunolitos Mos- 
quitoes and holy water All the fun of the fair The 
etiquette of mendicancy A Spanish circus A cinemato- 
graph Drunk but still courteous The diligence. 

THERE are three perfect months for exploring the 
mountains and visiting remote hills, valleys, and 
villages in the leisurely way only to be done on 
horse, mule, or donkey back. One is April, but 
then one ought to be in Seville for the most typical 
fair in Western Europe ; another is May, but then 
one must be in Granada for the nightingales and 
the roses which make the Alhambra a dream of 
delight ; the third is September, when grapes, 
peaches, and melons are in their prime, when the 
weather though brilliantly sunny is no longer 
oppressively hot, and the high roads are gay with 
swarming herds of creatures moving from fair to 
fair, and forming with their owners a series of 
living pictures which make the longest journey 

For a woman no longer young, a donkey with 
jamugas and a pack mule is the ideal mode of 
transit over the mountains. If you possess your 


ownjamugas, as I do, with the leathern straps that 
support them on three sides fitted to your measure, 
there is no more comfortable riding seat. But 
perhaps I ought to explain what the jamugas 
consist of, for they are rarely seen nowadays 
except in mountain towns, and unless seen are not 
easily imagined. 

According to the dictionary of the Spanish 
Academy the word is derived from the Basque 
zamucac, " a seat intended for femininity to mount 
on any kind of beast of burden." But although 
the name may have been originally Basque, the 
apparatus is Oriental, for one sees just the same sort 
of thing in Morocco and in the East, only there it is 
hooded to hide all the femininity from curious eyes. 

The basis is simply a folding trestle, like that for 
a table, with cross-straps to prevent the trestle from 
opening too wide. This is placed on the aparejo 
of the beast of burden, the aparejo being a stout 
pad of straw used to prevent the jamugas or the 
panniers, as the case may be, from galling the 
animal's back. It is fixed firmly with innumerable 
twists and turns of tightly knotted cord, and a 
folded blanket is laid across the donkey's back to 
make your seat soft. As a matter of fact you 
generally feel the cord through the blanket, but 
to obviate this you can use a pillow, which is 
supplied if desired with the donkey, pillow-case and 
all. For the information of my fellow-femininity 
I may add that I personally take a cushion of my 
own to sit upon, and have the pillow tied to the 
strap which forms the back of the jamugas, and 


thus save myself from jolts and jars on rough 
ground, no small advantage on a long journey. 
Between the blanket and the cushion a gaily 
coloured cotton cloth covers the aparejo and most 
of the donkey, and streams out behind and around 
when you meet the wind. The oldest and most 
delicate femininity can ride in this arm-chair, for 
it amounts to that, and I have travelled all day long 
on my jamugas up hill and down dale, and my 
sure-footed little donkey has never tripped or 
turned a hair. 

It is slow progress, certainly, but what of that, 
when at every fresh step fresh beauty is revealed, 
and all your way your guide, as he leads the sumpter 
mule with your inappropriate modern "grip" or 
suit-case in its panniers, entertains you with his 
discourse, or wakes the echoes with his song, for he 
sings most of the way, "to bring good luck." 

The worst of it is that nowadays one has to go 
a long way by rail and road before one reaches 
country remote enough for jamugas : one is lucky 
if half a charming tour can be covered on a donkey. 
Such was my fortune one sunny September, and I 
never felt more sorry than when I had to come 
back to the railway after a fortnight spent on the 
hills. But the first part of the journey was not 
without incident, as I will now relate. 

I left the train at Jerez, the sherry city with its 
huge bodegas full of valuable wine, its cosmopolitan 
hotel, and its numerous millionaires. From there to 
Arcos, thirty kilometres distant along a mountain 
road continually increasing in beauty, a motor bus 


takes one in about two hours. Arcos is a town of 
20,000 inhabitants, perched on the steepest of hills, 
with a Tartessian -Roman -Arabic castle on the very 
top, altered and restored like many others in this 
country by the great Dukes of Arcos, who in the 
fifteenth century were the rivals in wealth and 
political power of the Medina Sidonia family. 

From an Arabic loggia, here called mirador, 
which means literally "view place," we obtain a 
marvellous panorama of the mountains, with a bird's- 
eye view of a fertile valley in the foreground, 
encircled by the winding Guadalete. It is truly 
a bird's-eye view, for the vega, as the cultivated 
valley is called, lies fully five hundred feet below the 
sheer cliff on which the castle stands, and people 
walking on it look about six inches high. The cliff 
is so steep that in many places even the ubiquitous 
cactus cannot take hold, and here vultures and 
eagles build their nests in security, for no little boy 
can throw stones anywhere near them. Even the 
goats can only clamber up a little way at the base, 
where the detritus of ages has formed a sharply 
sloping rise extending fifty or sixty feet up from 
the river and the new high road which leads from 
Arcos to El Bosque. That view alone is worth a 
stop at Arcos, but it is by no means the only 
" sight," for the ancient town is full of Koman, 
Arabic, and Renaissance remains, and the fourteenth- 
century mother church contains a wonderful gold 
chalice given by one of the ducal family when the 
church was built a relic which no one interested 
in goldsmith's work should miss. This church, 


which the people call their cathedral, overlooks a 
square at the foot of the castle, and that square in 
May is a mass of golden mimosa. I have never 
seen such a glow of colour or smelt such over- 
powering sweetness from trees of that kind. 

Part of the castle was granted to the Town 
Council for their hall in the sixteenth century, and 
in one of the rooms, which was the chapel of the 
Dukes of Arcos, are preserved no less than eleven 
grants to the city bearing the signature of Alfonso 
the Learned, who won it from the Almohad Moors in 
1284 with the help of his ally Al Ahmar, the Arab 
king of Granada. 

The Dukes of Arcos held sway here for over two 
hundred years, until all memory of the friendship 
of Alfonso and his father St. Ferdinand with the 
Moslems of Granada was forgotten in the ambition 
of the " Catholic Kings," Ferdinand and Isabella, 
to make a united kingdom of Spain. Then, when 
Andalucia was all a-fire with ruthless war, Arcos 
fell on evil days, for lying as she does on the frontier 
of the kingdom of Granada (hence her full name, 
which is Arcos de la Frontera), the Moslems naturally 
seized the opportunity to try again and again to 
recover this strong outpost of their former dominion. 
Until nearly the end of the war the castle held out, 
but in 1484 the Moslems possessed themselves of 
the city, and the Duchess, who was defending the 
castle, was so hard pressed that surrender seemed 
inevitable. The Duke was away besieging Alhama 
by the Queen's orders, and although the Duchess 
contrived to send a message to her husband telling 


him of her straits, Isabella could not spare him and 
his troops even to rescue his wife. 

The only knight who could help was the Duke 
of Medina Sidonia, who was known to be somewhere 
in the district, on his way from Seville with rein- 
forcements for the Queen. But Medina Sidonia and 
Arcos had been at daggers-drawn for generations. 
It was almost as bitter and prolonged a feud as that 
of the Guelphs and Ghibellines, and none of the 
Arcos faction dreamed of appealing to Medina 
Sidonia for help. 

Medina Sidonia, however, was a very chivalrous 
gentleman. The tidings of the lady's plight reached 
him as he lay before Setenil (so called, according to 
local etymology, because the Romans besieged it 
seven times septem = sete and took nothing nil !) 
some twenty miles from Arcos. He turned back at 
once with half of his troops, drove the Moslems out 
of the town, left a strong guard with the rescued 
lady, and then returned to continue the siege of the 
still stronger fortress of Setenil, and to play his 
part in the taking of Alhama. 

If Medina Sidonia had not brought the feud 
between the two families thus dramatically to an 
end Arcos would have had to capitulate, as its 
neighbour Zahara had already done, and once the 
Moslems had recovered the four strategic points, 
Arcos, Zahara, Setenil, and Eonda, the war against 
Granada might have had a different ending. 

We do not find .this story in the published 
histories of Ferdinand and Isabella, but it is written 
in the archives of the city of Arcos and in those of 


the Arcos family, now, alas ! mouldering in a locked 
room in one of the great towers of the castle, which 
is falling to ruin because its owners cannot afford to 
keep it up. 

With regret I tore myself away from the 
castle, whose once warlike keep is now a garden 
of roses, orange trees, jessamine, and geraniums 
grown into bushes with age. But I had to get 
on to Bornos and Villamartin on the way to Algo- 
donales, where I was to change the diligence for 
the donkey. 

Of that stage of the road the less said the better. 
Much of it was dull, all of it was dusty, and the 
diligence was packed to its utmost capacity, for it 
was the eve of the Villamartin September Fair, 
and the rattling old shandridan, built to carry eight 
or ten passengers in all, had five horses instead of 
three, and no less than twenty-seven people were 
stowed inside, on the box, and on the roof. Every 
one declared that it was excessively dangerous, and 
made a great joke of the fact ; and as Spanish 
drivers make a point of whipping up their horses 
when they near the bottom of a hill, in order to 
take the next rise on the run, and the over-loaded 
machine rocked like a ship in a storm on every 
such occasion, it was little short of a miracle that 
we arrived at Villamartin alive. 

Arrive we did, however, and at once found 
ourselves in all the fun of the fair. 

The only fonda in the place looked out on 
the main square. The polite name for fonda (the 
Arabic fondak) in English is hotel, and the fonda 


professes to provide food and beds for its customers ; 
unlike the parador (stopping-place), which only 
gives beds to travellers providing their own food, 
and the posada (rest-house), which is really little 
more than a stable for animals with some sort of 
shelter attached for the people who belong to them. 
Our Villamartin " hotel " only had three or four 
bedrooms and no sitting-room at all, the food being 
served in a passage through which one passed from 
the street to the staircase, or one might rather say 
step-ladder, leading up to an open gallery containing 
one of the convenient and comfortable folding bed- 
steads called catres, minus a mattress ; one broken - 
backed chair, and nothing else. From this a narrow 
door led into a tiny bedroom which just held a bed 
and a washstand. 

We had no choice but to stay here. The humble 
Spanish friends with whom I was travelling to 
their home at Algodonales a mother and son 
insisted on my taking the bedroom, although they 
gladly accepted my invitation to share the wash- 
stand. The mother said she could sleep on the 
catre with a pillow from my bed, and the boy on 
the floor alongside, with his head on my travelling- 
bag. Every other corner in the house was full for 
the fair, and even this modest accommodation could 
only be had for one night. Poor as it was, the 
bedding and the linen were clean, and we thought 
ourselves lucky to get a room at all. 

But we rashly arranged a pillow and rug for 
Rosario on the catre before going out to see the 
town, and when we got back, the catre, the pillow, 


and even the broken-backed chair had been carried 
off for another customer, and my poor friends had 
just to sit downstairs at the street door and amuse 
themselves as best they could till it was time to 
start. This, however, was not quite the hardship it 
sounds, for all Spaniards love to turn night into 
day ; and their main concern was lest I should be 

We were to start by diligence for Algodonales, 
our final destination, at 3 a.m., and pretty Rosario 
had agreed to let me sleep till two if I could, which 
seemed doubtful in view of the incessant noise in the 
main street on which my tiny window looked. I 
did sleep, notwithstanding the noise, and woke to 
find the sun streaming in, and the town alive with 
goatherds and their flocks, donkeys loaded with fruit 
and vegetables, women with baskets of eggs and 
live fowls tied together by the legs and distressfully 
clucking, and a continual stream of ponies, mules, 
cows, calves, pigs, sheep, and oxen coming in from 
the country to the fair ; while all along the foot- 
walks little canvas- covered sweet-stalLs had sprung 
up like mushrooms in the night. I had slept 
through all the riot of the small hours, and the 
diligence had either not gone at 3 a.m. or had gone 
without me. 

I sprang up arid opened my door, wondering if 
Rosario had also overslept the appointed hour. 
There she was with a cup of coffee for me, smiling 
as brightly as ever, but her curly hair was ruffled 
and she had a generally dishevelled appearance. 
The diligence had not gone. Something was wrong 


with the wheels, or the harness, or the horses, or the 
driver, no one knew exactly what ; but Rosario 
thought that the truth was probably that the driver 
wanted to do some business in the fair. Anyhow 
the diligence did not start, and Rosario and her 
boy had sat all night long in their chairs, with 
various other visitors to the town, who like themselves 
could get no beds. 

Relieved of their anxiety lest I should be vexed 
at the delay, the mother and son quickly brightened 
up, and we agreed that as we had to stay there all 
day we would get all the fun we could out of it. 
Rosario after a wash and a brush in my room looked 
as fresh as if she had slept in her own comfortable 
bed, and as for the boy, he was at an age to enjoy 

The innkeeper flatly declined to provide us with 
coffee or anything else for breakfast, so we went 
out and ate bunolitos, a peculiar dainty largely in 
evidence at these country fairs, where booths are set 
up entirely for their sale. My friends took me to 
the largest and gayest of the two tents already 
opened, which had white muslin curtains tied to- 
gether in the middle with streamers of red and 
yellow calico, just like the sweet-stalls in Syria. 
An overpowering smell of boiling oil greeted our 
nostrils as we approached, and such was the frizz- 
ling and the smoke that we could hardly see the 
bunolera, a stout lady in a brown skirt, white 
apron, and blue cross-over, with a red handkerchief 
picturesquely knotted round her head. She saw us, 
however, and promptly turned to serve us with the 


odd product of her cooking a mixture of flour and 
water squeezed through a funnel into a vast frying- 
pan and coiled round and round as it fried, until 
the whole was deftly thrown out unbroken on the 
dish. Bunolitos are crisp and tempting and really 
delicious to eat, provided only that the oil be good 
and of last year's milling ; for the new oil has an 
abominable smell and taste which only a native can 

This was good oil, and the bunolera was an 
artist. We ate all we could, and be it observed that 
I fell little short of my companions in the quantity 
consumed. We paid a penny a piece for our break- 
fast, and then strolled up the hill to the Parish 
Church, for it was Sunday and a festival Mass was in 

Very few people were present. A couple of 
nuns, a few ladies shrouded in black gauze veils 
falling over their shoulders and down to their knees, 
a graceful Oriental survival which lends dignity to 
the stoutest old dowager, two or three peasants 
with handkerchiefs on their heads, and the usual 
group of beggars about the door. 

I got past these last without trouble by using 
the accepted formulas, "Pardon me, brother, for 
God's sake," or " May God support you " ; both of 
which mean that one consigns them to the mercy of 
Providence because one has no mercy of one's own 
for them. And if this seems rather hard-hearted, 
let me point out that in remote places, where 
foreigners are never seen from one year's end to 
another, the gift of a penny to a single beggar will 


be a sowing of the dragon's teeth to raise up as 
by magic a swarm of from twenty to fifty more, 
who pursue one with pitiful appeals that change to 
imprecations and even stone-throwing, unless one 
proceeds to dole out pennies all round. One may 
therefore be thankful that the ceremonious response 
above quoted seldom fails of its effect, it being a 
matter of etiquette in Spanish mendicant circles 
politely to accept the time-worn courtesy in lieu of 
coin of the realm. It has often acted like a charm 
in my own experience, and I can call to mind 
brutal-looking men with some affliction or other 
which by no means hampered their physical power 
for violence, who stopped short and turned away 
with a gentle " Go with God " instead of a rude 
retort, when I answered their petitions with 
Perdoneme, hermano. 

The Mass ended a few minutes after we went in, 
and as I stood by the main door studying the not 
very interesting architecture of the church, I sud- 
denly felt a wet finger on my forehead. It was one 
of the nuns, who, noticing that I had failed to cross 
myself with holy water, was doing it for me. I 
appreciated her good intention, but did not ap- 
preciate that particular holy water, for the marble 
vessel was alive with mosquito grubs, whose pro- 
genitors swarmed round us where we stood. I knew 
the holy water was seldom changed in these country 
churches, but never had I seen any quite so dirty as 

A clamour of brass instruments drew us out. It 
was the town band making a round of the chief 


streets to announce that the fair had begun. It 
was a much better band than we should find in 
many English country towns of a similar size, and 
indeed the level of the brass bands is rather high 
here a fact I cannot explain, for among amateurs 
one practically never hears any concerted music at 
all, and even when two performers sing together on 
the stage in the minor theatres, it is as often as not 
in unison. This band had already woke the town 
on its first round at 6 a.m., when the church bells 
were ringing for early Mass, and now as soon as its 
performance came to an end, a sort of blaring roar 
from a merry-go-round began and continued at 
intervals throughout the rest of the day. I had 
never imagined, far less heard, anything like the 
noise of that fair in the daytime ; but worse was 
reserved for the night. 

Many hours were yet to pass, however, before 
night fell, and I must say they did not hang heavily, 
for the people and their animals formed a series of 
moving pictures which it would need the brush of a 
Sorolla or a Zuloaga to do justice to. One especially 
took my fancy. Two pretty girls (and the mountain 
people are as a rule remarkably handsome), dressed 
in beautifully laundered print gowns with flowers in 
their sleek black hair, rode together on a white horse 
covered with the brilliantly embroidered trappings 
familiar to us in pictures of the last century and still 
in common use in the Sierras. One girl sat facing 
one way and the other the other, with their arms 
round each other's waists, and a slim lad in a round 
Cordovese hat, a brown velvet jacket, and richly 


embroidered leather overalls, 1 led the horse by a 
purple-and-white halter made of twisted aloe fibre. 
On a donkey alongside were slung the girls' worldly 
goods, consisting of a box almost as large as the 
donkey, brilliantly yellow with new paint that 
gleamed golden in the morning sun, balanced by 
a large bundle tied up in a crimson wrapper, and 
topped by a sheaf of pale maize stalks, which would 
be the donkey's provender during the fair. It was 
a riot of youth and beauty and colour and gaiety 
which would have been the chance of a lifetime for 
a painter, but sad to say no painter was there to 
immortalise the scene. 

In the afternoon we went to see a circus in the 
Bull King, and in company with the rank and fashion 
of the town we paid one peseta apiece for what was 
described on the programme as a " stall." The 
" stalls " were honest reed-seated chairs, such as are 
sold new for two pesetas, but were borrowed on this 
occasion from the kindly neighbours and brought in 
by half-dozens at a time, as the aristocratic part of 
the audience increased. 

The show was advertised for five o'clock, but did 
not begin till about six, by which time the shady 
side of the ring was crowded, and the stalls had 
almost surrounded the very small circle railed in 
and sanded for the performers. We first had a 
tumbler with a week's beard, dressed in crimson 
satin and red cotton stockings, who usually came 

1 These garments, which are commonly worn by the peasants, 
are merely a kind of divided apron of leather, covering the front 
of the body from the waist to the feet. 


to grief in his feats, but never failed to draw applause. 
Followed a highly coloured young lady whom we 
had seen at the door taking tickets, and who now 
juggled with knives and cubes of wood, which in- 
variably landed on the ground instead of on the 
table ; a clown, in the same crimson satin and red 
cotton stockings, who played the fiddle quite nicely, 
but was interrupted by another clown with a feather 
brush, who always stopped the music by tickling the 
violinist's nose at the third or fourth bar, to the 
intense delight of the audience ; and then another 
highly rouged lady, past her first youth, who exhibited 
three rather sad little performing dogs. 

An acrobat, again in the crimson satin and red 
cotton stockings, now came on, after great prepara- 
tions and testing of wires, to perform a trapeze act. 
There seemed to be some sort of hitch about starting, 
which was explained when the acrobat with a sweet 
smile indicated that we had been seated by the 
attendants immediately under his taking-off plat- 
form, as indeed we were, unknown to ourselves. 
So we and our immediate neighbours picked up our 
chairs and retired, while the acrobat did some rather 
pretty swinging. 

The unshaven tumbler then reappeared, now 
dressed in a pilot coat and brown trousers, but still 
unshaven, and we discovered that what the adver- 
tisements called an " automovil race " was about to 
take place. It was in fact a terribly gimcrack 
" loop-the-loop " affair, and the performer looked 
haggard with nervousness as he examined his wires 
and pulleys. 


In retiring from the trapeze we had unconsciously 
planted ourselves just where the " automovil " must 
inevitably smash into us all ; no attempt having 
been made to indicate a danger zone. No one 
waited to be asked to retire this time. As soon as 
we saw the bold chauffeur climb his scaffold and 
realised what was going to happen, we just got up 
and bolted like rabbits, all quite as frightened as the 
chauffeur looked. We did not, however, omit to 
carry our chairs with us. The band struck up an 
inappropriate gipsy dance, the performer whirled 
down, and we settled into our seats with a sigh of 
relief that he and we had escaped with our lives. 

But even this was not the last time we were 
moved on, for the finale was a play in pantomime, 
in which the middle-aged lady played the heroine, 
in a long train which she carefully held up all the 
time ; the other lady played the young lover in 
yellow tights and a red cloak ; the tumbler, the 
clowns, and the manager, all wearing Kussian caps 
and blouses trimmed with rabbit-skin over their 
workaday trousers, interfered each after his manner 
with the course of true love ; and the stout acrobat 
with a scarlet-horned hood over the inevitable 
crimson satin and red stockings, appeared as a 
friendly devil and made all the stage furniture 
dance to distract the attention of the rest of the 
company from the antics of the lovers. The devil 
ended by letting off a lot of fireworks right in front 
of the " stalls," and this time we got up and ran, 
regardless of our chairs. It was not as dangerous 
as it looked, however, for the fireworks promptly 


fizzled out, and I for one was so weak with laughter 
by then that I could not even start when a cracker 
went off under my nose. 

The whole centre of the ring had been invaded 
by a swarm of young men and lads of the peasant 
class, who obviously had not paid a peseta for the 
privilege. The manager, wearing a monstrous Em- 
peror William moustache fiercely curling up to his 
eyebrows, had at intervals blandly requested them 
to retire and not incommode the ladies. They 
always retired with perfect politeness, to return 
again the moment his back was turned. When the 
circus was over this portion of the audience at once 
blocked the only exit, and gave us time to observe 
the back of the scenery of the pantomime, which 
was remarkable. A sheet of painted canvas stood 
on end, held in place by some mysterious law of 
cohesion, for visible supports it had none ; and how 
the red devil, who must have weighed a good fifteen 
stone, contrived to jump in and out of the window 
without bringing the whole thing down will always 
be for me an insoluble mystery. 

The fonda was less of an hotel than ever this 
evening, and we were warned that we must, willy- 
nilly, leave by the night diligence, because a viajante 
(commis-voyageur) had engaged my room and would 
want to go to bed when the Fair meeting of the 
Commercial Club closed about 2 a.m. But the fun 
of the Fair was not yet over for us, and the little 
window overlooking the main square now became 
for me a kind of Royal Box at the opera, music 
and all. 


At nine o'clock the band took up its position 
under my window, and the fireworks began. 
Another point I have never quite understood is why 
Spanish fireworks even in remote little towns like 
Villamartin are always good ; and how it is that 
every remote little town manages to keep its own 
firework-maker. But the profusion of devices in 
interlacing circles of arabesques leads me to suspect 
an Arabic origin for this as for so many other 
popular junkets in Spain. 

The Villamartin fireworks were beautiful, differ- 
ing from those of the big towns only in quantity, 
not at all in quality, and the set pieces were quite 
the most attractive to the crowd, whose inherited 
instincts are all for the arabesque in art. 

After the fireworks came a cinematograph, still 
accompanied by the band, whose repertoire consisted 
of six pieces, very well played, which they had been 
repeating at intervals all day. The people grew 
wildly enthusiastic over the moving pictures, and 
shouted and laughed and clapped like children, at 
the runaway who upsets every one he meets as 
he evades his pursuers, at the illicit lover who 
hides under the dinner-table and turns it over so 
as to spill the soup into the lady's lap, and at all 
the other stale old jokes which seemed to be brand- 
new to these unsophisticated southerners. There 
was no risk at all of our going to sleep and for- 
getting our diligence now. No one but a deaf mute 
could have closed an eye in the main square of 
Villamartin that night. 

After midnight, when the cinematograph closed, 


I laid me down fondly imagining I might get a 
little sleep ; but the clamour of the voices in no 
way diminished. On the contrary, as the night 
wore on it began to rise louder and louder, until 
it became a perfect roar. Now and then it would 
die down for a few minutes, until a boyish voice 
shouted something that I could not catch, when it 
began again worse than ever, still good-natured, 
but sounding ever more impatient, as if the self- 
restraint of the crowd were rapidly becoming 

At last, about half-past one, a distant noise 
like thunder made itself heard above all the human 
din, and then the crowd seemed to go perfectly 
mad, yelling and shouting like Bedlam let loose. 
It was time to get ready to leave anyhow, so I 
rose from my sleepless bed and went to the window. 

Then I saw what it all meant. It was the 
encierro, the bringing in of the bulls for the bull- 
fight next day. In this case they were not full 
grown bulls ; only year-old bullocks, and of these 
there were but two, the rest of the future victims 
being heifers. For fighting bulls cost a good deal 
of money, and Villamartin is a small town and 
not particularly rich : so the sportsmen of the 
ring here have to content themselves with the in- 
expensive heifer and "yarlin'," as they say in 

To hear the yells of delight raised when they 
came in sight, one would have thought that all 
Villamartin was out to receive the bullocks and 
their decoy : but as a matter of fact all Villamartin 


except the dregs had long gone home to bed, and 
the howling mob consisted entirely of a few men 
of mature years, financially interested in the bull- 
ring, and a crowd of boys and lads, the rag-tag 
and bobtail of the working classes, for the respect- 
able working men and their families do not approve 
of the " sport." These two elements in the Spanish 
social system nowadays form the immense majority 
of those who still support what is called "the 
national sport." Yet tourists seem to imagine that 
they represent the nation ! So well is it recognised 
by the governing classes that the bull-fight has 
ceased to appeal to any save the riff-raff and those 
to whom, in one capacity or another, it is a source 
of income, that legislative attempts have been made 
to forbid the bull-fights on Sunday, because if they 
only took place on week-days the aforesaid dregs 
of the working classes would find it difficult to 
attend at the cost of a day's wages, and the whole 
brutal concern would soon come to an end. But 
the vested interests are tremendously strong, and 
capital has great power in Spain ; so the bull-fight 
still goes on, and the tourists go to see it, and 
Spanish social reformers shrug their shoulders when 
they are told by foreigners that the first step to 
social reform in Spain must be the suppression of 
the bull-ring, which the foreigners' entrance money 
largely helps to keep going, and of which their 
mere presence is supposed by amateurs to express 

But this is another of the tragedies of Spain, 
and Rosario and her boy, who hate the very name 


of bull-fight, though they are mere peasants and 
never heard of the Society for the Prevention of 
Cruelty to Animals, did not talk about it that night 
with me as we watched the tumultuous passage 
of a particularly lively heifer across the square 
under my window. Setting aside humanitarian 
considerations, it was a picturesque sight enough, 
for the victims of the morrow, surrounded and 
steered by half a dozen stolid old cows with bells 
on their necks, were preceded and followed by the 
garrochistas, those herders of the wild cattle, with 
the high-peaked saddles and great square stirrups 
and long poles with iron points, which form so 
effective a group on post-cards purporting to 
represent the everyday life of Spain. Some of the 
rabble had gone out to meet the procession with 
torches, and these still flared as the crowd surged 
by, making curious yellow cross-lights when they 
fell on the glare of the arc lights of the town. 

I have been told that it was once proposed to 
start a branch of the Society for Prevention of 
Cruelty to Animals at Madrid, and that in order 
to obtain funds a great bull-fight was organised. 
I do not know whether Ben Trovato is responsible 
for this story, but I have myself met a member of 
that Society, an English lady of mature years, who 
refused to subscribe to an entertainment in Spain 
because it was to take place on a Sunday, and then 
quarrelled violently with her husband because he 
refused to take tickets for her for the bull-fight 
on Easter Day ! This is a true story, though the 
well-known Italian raconteur might be proud to 


father it. I remember also a British curate of 
extreme evangelical opinions, who gave at a 
luncheon party a full, true, and particular account, 
with realistic details, of the disembowelling of 
a horse and the wounding of a torero that he 
had witnessed, embellished with the usual ex- 
pressions of horror at the innate degradation of 
a nation which supported such barbarities. Some 
unkind person present remarked that it was believed 
that the Bishop of Gibraltar objected to his chaplains 
attending the bull-fight; to which the ingenuous 
curate replied : " Ah, but you see I went in without 
my clerical collar" the fatuous immorality of 
which remark closed the conversation. 

I was not altogether sorry when the time came 
to start for Algodonales. I had never heard such 
prolonged and uncontrolled noise made by human 
beings before, and much though the whole thing 
had amused me I do not care if I never hear such 
a noise again. When we made our way out into 
the brilliantly lighted square most of the crowd 
appeared to be drunk, but riff-raff though they 
might be, they were civil to the last, and good- 
naturedly lurched aside in a bunch to make room 
for us to pass into the comparative darkness of the 
street where the diligence awaited us, we, needless 
to say, being the only passengers who wished to 
leave the town just then. 


Mountain philosophy A Rembrandt mother and child Egyptian 
cotton fields The Khalif and the caneria My lodging in 
a bakery Embarrassing hospitality An Arabic banner 
Subterranean reservoirs The Way of the Cross. 

IT was pitch dark, and the sky was clouded when we 
started from Villamartin, and the creaking and jolt- 
ing of the crazy vehicle down the sharp slope from 
the town to the bridge over the Guadalete would 
have brought my heart into my mouth had I not 
been too tired and sleepy to care what happened. 
Kosario smiled at my terrors. Being a Serrana 
(mountain woman) by birth, she was not in the least 
alarmed when the diligence seemed to be diving 
head-foremost to perdition. " Even if we upset," 
she said, " we should come to no harm, for the road 
was so narrow and the banks so steep that we could 
not fall far." She also told me that there was a much 
better road on the other side, but as we were starting 
late and were a light load, the driver, an old ac- 
quaintance of hers, had chosen a short cut which in 
winter is a water-course. 

Protected by the Providence which looks after 
fools, we presently landed with a final bone-shaking 
jerk on the high road, and thence proceeded for 
several miles in comparative comfort, so much so 


indeed that we all three went to sleep, and the boy 
so soundly that he hardly woke till we got within 
hail of his native village : for this is the King's 
highway, and well looked after, as are all of its class, 
by Government road-menders. I, however, was 
roused by a stop and voices at a wayside venta, a 
peasant drinking-place with a deep porch and vine- 
bowered poles set up in front to give shelter from the 
sun. Finding that we were to be there ten minutes, 
while the driver refreshed himself with aguardiente 
(his offer of which, as it is a fierce spirit largely 
made in its cheaper forms from potatoes, I politely 
declined), I got down to warm my chilled limbs by 
movement, for we were now pretty high up and the 
air was cold. 

Behind us, already a long way off, the lights of 
Villamartin still twinkled as gaily as if the night 
were yet young. The black clouds had broken, and 
the young moon stuck one slender horn out from 
their midst, while near at hand a patch of burning 
weeds cast a Eembrandtesque glow on a handsome 
young woman seated before a choza built of bamboos 
and maize stalks, with an infant at her breast. One 
wondered why in the world she was awake and up 
at four in the morning, but a voice at my elbow 
explained it : 

" Senora, por Dios, una perilla pa' pan!" 
["Lady, for God's sake a little dog (-|d.) for 

The ubiquitous beggar, in this case a ragged child 
eight or nine years old, was on the watch for a 
possible penny from some weary traveller who might 


give the coin in order to be freed from the unmusical 
professional whine. 

I weakly gave the perilla. No other beggars 
were near to see, and the picture was worth it. I 
continually regret as I travel in Spain that I was 
not born a painter. 

It was another nuit blanche for me after that. 
Any one who knows the joy and the glory of day- 
break and sunrise over the hills will understand that 
one would not willingly lose a moment of the glowing 
change from darkest shadow to glowing dawn. It 
is not fully light in these latitudes before six in 
September, and the beauty of the morning does not 
culminate till nearly eight. The boy slept dream- 
lessly, and poor tired Kosario dozed with her head 
on his shoulder, but I sat and gazed till my eyes 
were dazzled by the splendour of the sun on the 
everlasting hills. 

About 7.30 we came to a venta by a fine new 
bridge with one arch spanning the river. It was 
only built a few years ago, when the high road was 
extended to Algodonales. Until then this thriving 
village, with some 7000 inhabitants and a large trade 
in fruit and vegetables and walnut wood, had no 
communication with the outer world save by a mule 
track. Now it is on one of the main roads from 
Konda to Jerez, and I hear that since I was there it 
has been provided with a motor-service from Jerez. 
From the bridge to Algodonales is a shady climb, 
the scenery growing more beautiful at every turn ; 
and Algodonales itself is one of the prettiest villages 
I have seen in Spain, all orchards and walnut groves, 


I only had two objections to it. The first was 
that the spacious entrance was the favourite meeting- 
place of all the women of the neighbourhood, with 
their babies, who cried a good deal ; and the second 
was that the one little window of the bedroom 
opened on to a pigsty. This Rosario apologised 
for, saying that she knew English ladies did not like 
smells, but if I could otherwise be comfortable here, 
the pigsty should be cleaned out every day during 
my visit, instead of as was customary once a 

I really did not like that pigsty, but it was 
impossible to wound the susceptibilities of an entire 
family so full of genuine hospitality by declining the 
room, and I knew that I should see more of peasant 
life as an inmate of the tahona 1 than I possibly 
could in a lodging apart from Rosario. So I 
graciously permitted pretty blue-eyed Dolores to 
make up beds for herself, her husband, and her 
children on the floor of the granary, and induced 
her as a favour not to clear out her one chest of 
drawers for me. 

And there I slept for a week, with the pigs in 
front, the poultry behind, and a pony in a stable 
to my right, which got loose regularly every night 
and compelled me to call my hosts to catch him, 
lest he should break his knees over a stone feeding- 
trough and water-vessel left in the yard by a 
forgotten generation. For I knew that if they had 
not given me their room they would hear the noise 
for themselves, and I could not let their pony come 
1 Arabic name for a bakery, always used here. 


to grief, because they were too hospitable to me. 
By closing my window and its shutters I was able 
to exclude most of the smell of the pigs, and there 
was no lack of air, because the heavy door had 
dragged itself half off its hinges with age, and 
would not close within six inches. It had to be 
fixed with a chair, but, as Kosario pointed out, I 
need not be in the least nervous if it opened of 
itself any time, " because I was among friends ; not 
in afonda, where one never knew who might come 
along and try one's door at night." 

It is usual for whole families of Spaniards, even 
of a much richer class, to use one dressing-table and 
washstand in common. Indeed, at a furnished flat 
which we took at a high rent one summer at the 
seaside, we found only one small washstand supplied 
for our whole party, consisting of three adults and 
a servant. Thus it never occurred to Rosario or 
Dolores that I could mind washing with my door 
half open, and I got over the slight inconvenience 
by hanging niy dressing-gown over the gap, while 
my host and his apprentices sat and smoked just 

The one thought of the family seemed to be 
how to secure me the most enjoyment possible, and 
each day expeditions were planned. The whole 
village used to turn out to see us start : I on my 
jamugas, with my host leading the donkey, Rosario 
on another donkey or a mule led by her son, seated 
on the top of the seron (panniers) containing our 
food for the day and my tools and photographic 
apparatus ; for (although this is somewhat off the 


point) the primary object of my mountain ex- 
peditions is archseological, and I am always on the 
look out for ruined castles or other interesting 
remains worth digging in. This makes one's 
luggage rather heavy, but it is a solid satisfaction 
to pretend that one's pleasure trips are undertaken 
in the cause of science. 

One of our jaunts from Algodonales was to 
Zahara, the strong fortress of which I have already 
made mention. My host's name was Salvador Malo 
(Wicked Saviour !), and he loved to be told that 
although wicked by name he was not so by nature. 
I pressed this brilliant jeu de mots on him at 
Zahara, where he pulled me up to the very top of 
the ruined castle by main force. It seems to have 
been destroyed by an earthquake, the masses of 
fallen masonry are so split up and tumbled about. 
The Christians are said to have surrendered Zahara 
through lack of water during the Granada war, and 
one can well believe it, for they never seemed to 
have grasped the necessity of keeping up the 
admirable Arabic systems either of storing water 
or irrigation ; and once they let the great sub- 
terranean aljibes 1 get into disrepair, the garrison 
of Zahara must have been at the mercy of the 
enemy, since the only springs are outside the old 
town walls, two or three hundred feet below the 

The view from the crumbling towers is superb, 
and the little town climbing up the precipitous hill 
is full of interesting remains, the most important 
1 Underground reservoirs for rain-water. 


of which is perhaps a square yard of red silk of 
Arabic manufacture called tafetdn, with the remains 
of some Arabic characters in white. This was the 
banner of the Moslems, surrendered after the fall 
of Granada to Ferdinand and Isabella. It is now 
regarded as a religious relic, and is carried once a 
year in procession through the streets after the 
image of the patron saint of Zahara. I must not 
forget to mention that the only access to Zahara, 
with its 1700 inhabitants, is a bridle-path. Very 
neat woodwork in walnut is done here, as also at 
Algodonales, but the Zahara style is more distinctly 
Arabic, and I saw some brackets and a spice box 
carved with " stalactite " ornamentation which might 
have come out of a mosque. They had been made 
by the village carpenter as a wedding gift to his 

Longer trips were planned for me, always to 
places inaccessible to wheeled vehicles, such as 
Grazalema, perched under the shadow of San 
Cristobal, the highest peak in the Sierra de Ronda. 
Here admirable cloth is still woven by hand, and 
fetches a good price in all the country round, for 
it has the reputation of being indestructible. The 
once flourishing town has now dwindled to a village, 
and many of its fine houses are in ruins. 

Most of my stay at Algodonales was, however, 
spent in the immediate neighbourhood, which is so 
richly wooded and so well watered as to present 
a most picturesque contrast to the grim mountain, 
which the natives say towers 700 metres above the 
village. I do not think it is as high as that in 


fact, I should guess that the frowning cliff which 
springs straight up from the level of my pigsty into 
the blue sky above, does not really measure from 
the pigsty to the top more than 400 or 500 feet. 
But the villagers think they ought to know, for on 
that barren crag are perched three iron crosses, and 
every year the young men and maidens toil up a 
path which seems fit only for goats, in the per- 
formance of the religious exercise known as the 
Way of the Cross. The older people and the 
children are excused, for only active youth can 
safely surmount that stony way, and for them 
there is a humble altar set up half-way, whereat 
they worship while the priest says a Mass for the 
safe return of the adventurous pilgrims. 

The street leading to this mountain path is called 
Calvary, and the whole ceremony is a survival of 
bygone days, when the Passion Play took place in 
every mountain town, with living actors instead of 
the images now carried in procession, and every 
penitent must walk on his bare and bleeding feet 
along the Way of the Cross before he could hope 
to be shriven of his sins. 


Fancy bread and sun-worship Prehistoric sandals A bower of 
oleanders An Andalucian St. John Fashion and footpaths 
The mauvais pas The midday rest A mountain storm 
Thunder, lightning, and flood Kind-hearted donkey-drivers 
A welcome shelter. 

ALL too soon my allotted time came to an end, 
and I found myself at seven o'clock of a glorious 
September morning bidding farewell to my kind 
friends, as I started for a ride of 30 kilometres 
over the mountains to the railway station at Moron 
de la Frontera. My host as a parting gift presented 
me with some curious bread of his own making, in 
what is called a caracol design a primitive sun- 
symbol of Egyptian origin, had he only known it. 
I asked him where he got the design, and he said, 
" From his father : it was nothing, but as I liked 
cosas antiguas (old things) it had occurred to him 
to make it." I have since found that this form 
of "little bread" is peculiar to Algodonales, and my 
parting gift is preserved in a glass case with other 
interesting survivals of sun-worship in the Tartessus 
of the Greeks, the Baetica of the Romans, and the 
Andalucia of to-day. 

This was one of the longest and most beautiful 
rides I have ever taken, as also the most adventurous. 


I had indeed cut my visit short by a few days 
because there were indications that the weather 
was likely to break up, and this mountain path 
often no more than a goat-track is impassable 
after rain, when parts of it may be washed away 
into the river G-uadalporcon hundreds of feet below. 

We climbed up and up for a couple of hours, 
until vines and olive groves were left behind, and 
forests of evergreen oaks, covered with acorns, took 
their place. This oak, which grows almost up to 
the line where snow sometimes lies till June, is only 
second in value to the olive on mountain estates, 
for it costs very little in labour, and its acorns are 
the best food that can be given to the droves of 
brown long-haired pigs which haunt these lofty 

On we went, sometimes up the hill, sometimes 
down under the shade of the oaks, sometimes along 
a watercourse through thickets of brambles and pink 
oleanders, which in this climate grow almost into 
trees when their roots can reach a stream. Over 
one such thicket a wild vine, growing from a rock 
above, had spread its tangled branches, and the 
goatherds had cut and trained it to form a shelter 
impervious to the sun. A flock of goats was brows- 
ing around, guarded by a man and a boy wearing 
wide straw hats, blue cotton jackets, and short 
trousers with striped socks and sandals made of 
twisted esparto grass, just like those in use three 
thousand years or more ago among their Tartessian 
progenitors. They lay half asleep under their bower 
of vine leaves and oleander blossom, but rose at our 


approach and insisted on my sitting down to rest in 
the shade, while they chatted outside in the sun 
with Jose. It was so cool and pretty that I would 
gladly have stopped there for the noonday siesta, 
but it was still too early for that, and we had many 
miles yet to travel. 

A cry of distress from a nannygoat broke the 
sunny calm round us, and the boy ran up the hill 
like a hare to see what had happened to his charges. 
The last I saw as I rode away was the little goatherd 
standing on a rock far above us, waving a hand 
in adieu, with an injured kid slung round his neck. 
One constantly meets with incidents of this kind, 
and of course one is inevitably reminded of the boy 
St. John with his lamb. In a recent country fair I 
saw two men taking turns to carry a full-sized goat 
in their arms, she having somehow hurt a leg on the 
journey into the town. It was less picturesque than 
a kid on the shoulders, but the spirit was the same ; 
for the goat could still walk, so that not necessity 
but kindness dictated the action. 

We met few people in those beautiful but 
desolate hills. Jose* told me that in the course of a 
few weeks, when the acorns ripened, a number of 
families would come from the villages round and 
live in chozas during the harvest. The chozas of 
the Sierra are very different from those of the plains. 
They are built of stones laid dry one on the other, 
and roofed with esparto grass from the streams, and 
they almost always have some sort of a chimney, for 
the cold here on autumn nights and on wet days 
is considerable. But. these stone-built huts can be 


made very snug and warm, by mortaring the walls 
within and roofing with something more durable 
than reed, and I can imagine no more delightful 
summer holiday than one spent in a well-made choza 
among these glorious mountains provided that the 
choza lay within reach of a Tartessian castle or 
necropolis wherein to excavate in the intervals of 
enjoying the view. 

The few people we did meet always appeared at 
inconvenient moments. A fat young lady riding a 
very small donkey with very wide jamugas, and 
carrying a beautiful flounced silk parasol, suddenly 
came into the picture half-way down a precipitous 
hill, so steep and so strewn with boulders that I, 
feeling discretion to be the better part of valour, 
had got off my donkey to walk. Indeed I very 
often did get off to walk downhill on that journey, 
for in many places I felt that the only way to avoid 
diving over the donkey's head would be to hold on 
to his tail, and it seemed on the whole safer as well 
as more dignified to trust to my own feet. The 
young lady with the parasol was coming up as I 
went down, but I am sure she would have held on 
to the donkey's tail any number of times rather than 
get off once had our situations been reversed, for I 
never saw a more confirmed expression of bland 
laziness than hers. She was too sleepy even to 
respond to the " Go with God" with which we 
greeted her, and that is a breach of good manners 
that nothing but the torpor of extreme fatness could 
condone. I am not very clear how we managed to 
pass her and her convoy of servants and baggage 


donkeys : I only remember that I had to climb on to 
the top of the nearest boulder and stand there for 
a long time to be out of the way while the train 
went by. 

She was the daughter of a neighbouring land- 
owner, who lived in a fine house built on the ruins 
of a castle round the spur of a hill to our left, as 
Jose informed me. He could not remember the 
name either of the family or the castle, and I was 
not particularly anxious to know either. What 
interested me was the notion of a rich landowner 
building himself a fine house on the slope of a hill 
to which no road could be made. It was for the 
olives and the cork trees, said Jose : that cabal- 
lero owned thousands and thousands of them, and 
came out to the Sierra from Arcos with all his family 
to " take the mountain air " when the crops were 
coming in. 

Our next rencontre was a more exciting one. We 
had to cross the side of a steep hill sloping sharply 
down to the river far below, by a path just wide 
enough for the donkey and the mule to put one foot 
before the other, and no more. This in itself would 
have been nothing, had the slope been clothed with 
vegetation like the rest of the mountain. But it was 
the " bad step " of the pass, Jose said, the place 
which after a storm even of summer rain is not only 
dangerous but impossible, for the hillside here is of 
a shaly sort of slate, and a very little water is 
enough to send the whole path slithering down to 
the river. It was perfectly safe now, said Jose*, for 
there had been no rain for three months, and every- 


thing was dust-dry. But my honour would well 
understand, seeing the bad step with her own eyes, 
why he could not have attempted to take her the 
journey to Moron, much as he delighted in pleasing 
her, had the dreaded thunderstorm come up last 
night, as he had been a little afraid it might. 

'" My honour" did indeed understand, and 
looked back rather anxiously at the hills behind, 
where a lovely but ominous background of purple- 
blue clouds threw the gorgeous sunshine around 
us into strong relief. Did Jose* think the storm 
would come up during the day ? Had we not better 
press on towards some house where we could shelter 
if we were caught in the rain ? 

My honour must free herself from anxiety. In 
no case could we hasten here, where a false step 
would be fatal, and there was no house within many 
miles. And the storm was still distant, on the other 
side of San Cristobal : may be, if God pleased, it 
would not overtake us ; and at the worst we should 
be well over the pass before it came. 

As a rule I tie the halter round my donkey's 
neck and let it pick its own way, but here Jose* led 
it, leaving the pack mule to follow as best it could. 
It was clear that he felt a little anxious, and he 
explained that some heavily loaded animal must 
have had a slip at one spot, where the path dis- 
appeared altogether, and we had to make a detour 
above. For some minutes we had heard a voice 
singing, and just at this point a lad riding a donkey 
appeared. That boy proceeded with the utmost 
nonchalance to make a new path across the loose 


shale, rather than take the trouble to go off the 
direct line as we had done. He shouted to his 
donkey, kicked it hard with his heels, encased in the 
usual esparto sandals with soles an inch thick, and 
took the dangerous bit at a trot ! It was not done 
for effect, as one might have imagined, for he paid 
no attention at all to us, and we heard him gaily 
singing as he rode on, apparently unaware that he 
had risked a sudden and terrible death by his fool- 
hardy performance. 

After this our way led downwards, and at one 
o'clock, as the clouds seemed to have dispersed, we 
ventured to stop for a rest under two fine walnut 
trees which had sown themselves above the bank of 
the river, now beginning to assume respectable pro- 
portions, but still a good way below us. Jose un- 
harnessed his animals, fixed up a sort of tent with 
the blanket from under my jamugas and the cloth 
from his mule, to give us shade, and after we had 
lunched he lay down with his head on my hold-all 
and I with mine on my riding-cushion, and we both 
slept soundly for over an hour. More than that 
we could not allow, he had said, if I was to catch the 
five o'clock train at Moron, for we were already 
behindhand owing to my frequent pauses to enjoy 
the scenery, and we still had a very long way to go. 

While we slept the clouds came up, and I awoke 
to find a thundery suffocating heat in the air, the 
sun obscured, and not a breath of wind anywhere. 
Jose looked grave, and devoutly thanked God that 
we were over the pass. Had we been caught by 
this weather on the other side we should have had 


no alternative but to return to Algodonales, and the 
Senora would not have crossed this pass before next 

As he talked he was hurriedly saddling the 
animals and packing the lunch basket, etc., into the 
panniers, while I unstrapped my hold-all and got 
out umbrella and mackintosh, which undoubtedly 
I should very soon need. 

" There is no alternative," said Jose, " I must take 
your honour to shelter in the Venta del Albercon. 
It is only half a league out of the way, but if we do 
not find shelter we shall be drowned. What a fool 
I was to allow your honour to leave Algodonales, but 
I did it for the best, and Salvador agreed that the 
storm would not come up before to-morrow." 

Long before we got to the venta we were wet 
to the skin. The rain fell in one unbroken sheet, 
through which streaks of lightning dazzled us at 
appallingly frequent intervals, accompanied by 
peals of thunder which sounded perfectly terrific in 
their reverberations among the hills. 

As soon as possible Jose led the way down to 
the banks of the stream, and dragged the animals 
across at the risk of breaking their legs among the 
rough stones that filled the bed. Already the 
biggest stones were almost covered, and Jose said 
that if we delayed to cross till we got to the ford 
the river would be up to our necks. Thence we 
made our way, I hardly know how, through the 
oleanders and brambles to what was really only a 
goat-track some twenty feet or so up the bank, and 
by this time the situation was so critical that Jose' 


ceased to apologise, for all his energies were devoted 
to urging on the terrified beasts. Fortunately they 
knew and loved him, and his caressing voice soothed 
even the mule, which was young and got half wild 
with terror when the lightning flashed in its eyes. 

We passed the ford where the Algodonales track 
crossed a by-road from Olvera to Villamartin, 
leaving it on our left. It was already a raging 
torrent eight to ten feet deep and rising higher 
every minute, and all the little tributary water- 
courses which had been stony wastes when we 
started were now turbid streams, rushing down to 
swell the flood. I have never seen anything to 
equal the rapidity with which the waters gathered, 
and I really began to wonder whether Jose and I 
would ever be seen again by our respective families, 
for it seemed as if at any moment we might be 
overwhelmed by an avalanche of stones and shale 
tumbled down from the peaks above us by those 
nightmare torrents which had suddenly sprung into 
being where an hour ago all was dust-dry. It also 
crossed my mind that my family, who were away in 
England, had not the remotest idea where I was, 
my trip having been a sudden inspiration of which 
I had not informed them ; and I pictured my 
friend Rosario distractedly seeking my corpse in 
company with the widow and children of Jose* (I 
learnt afterwards that he was a bachelor) and wildly 
telegraphing to break the news, hampered by having 
no notion of my family's address. 

Fortunately these gloomy forebodings were not 
fulfilled. A peal of thunder that seemed to shake 


the whole world, and a flash of lightning so close 
over our heads that we were almost blinded, 
heralded our arrival at the venta, and in a moment 
I found myself lifted off the donkey and half carried 
into the cottage by the kindly people within, while 
Jose* slipped the panniers which would not pass 
through the door off his mule, and led the two 
poor, frightened, half-drowned beasts through a clean 
white-washed kitchen into a roomy stable beyond, 
where he patted and soothed them until they were 
quite quiet and happy, before he gave a thought 
to his own comfort. The storm had come up so 
suddenly that although he had dragged out an 
extra wrap for me, he had been unable or unwilling 
to stop and put on his own blanket, which was in 
the panniers under my luggage, and all my per- 
suasions had failed to induce him to take mine, 
which had been thrown over the luggage, when we 
started, to protect my camera from the sun. 

There is an impression abroad that Spaniards 
are not kind to their animals, but this is a great 

" How should we not do the best we can for our 
donkeys, when we depend on them for our liveli- 
hood ? " one of my arrieros remarked on my 
praising his tender care of an injured mule. 

True one often sees even quite young and 
active mules and donkeys in the villages of the 
Sierra with their knees badly broken ; but when 
one realises that most of their work has to be done 
on tracks such as I have endeavoured to describe 
for, thanks to the neglect of the governing classes, 


there are thousands of villages in Spain which can 
only be reached by such paths one has to admit that 
it is a wonder that the condition of the beasts of 
burden is no worse. And indeed I know for a fact 
that many poor men working on the land never 
let their donkeys go hungry while they have a bite 
of bread for themselves, so that my heart often 
aches to see the animals thin and out of condition, 
knowing it means there is want in the home. 

Having all my luggage with me (a further 
advantage of travelling on donkey-back) I was able 
to get out of my wet clothes at once, and while I 
changed in a roomy loft over the kitchen, where 
the family slept and kept their corn, beans, winter 
melons, and other stores, the pretty daughter of the 
ventera told me that although autumn and winter 
storms were frequent enough on these hills, they 
had never known one come up so suddenly or with 
such rapidity so early in the season. We learnt 
afterwards that it was indeed rather a cyclone than 
an ordinary thunderstorm, and that it did terrible 
damage on the other side of the range of mountains, 
flooding an entire village on a river bank, and 
drowning an unfortunate gipsy family encamped 
under a bridge in the bed of the stream, which no 
one expected any water to reach until at least a 
month later. 


Rustic humour The haunted venta Prehistoric graves :A 
deferred journey More mountain hospitality The end 
of my ride A lost train A night in a posada Chivalrous 
Jos^ Mixed company Good-bye to the hills. 

THE rain poured in torrents, and the clouds were 
so black that at three in the afternoon we sat in 
semi-darkness ; but the time did not hang heavy 
on our hands, for I was entertained by watching 
the amenities of rny pretty girl and her lover, a 
shy youth with an odd lock of white hair over 
his forehead. And there was a wizened old fel- 
low picturesquely clad in a short brown jacket 
strengthened in the decorative style of the province 
at the elbows, wrists, collar, and seams, with black 
cloth cut in a design, and wearing really handsome 
embroidered leather overalls reaching from his 
waist to his knees, who had a sly humour that 
brought forth peals of laughter from the company. 
He sharpened his wits upon Mariquita and her 
Kafael, but I took care not to understand these 
jokes, knowing that they are apt to embarrass a 
modest British matron ; and as soon as I could I 
turned the conversation by asking if it was true 
that there was a susto (fright), miedo (fear), or 

duende (ghost) haunting the river, as I had heard 



Rustic humour The haunted venta Prehistoric graves :A 
deferred journey More mountain hospitality The end 
of my ride A lost train A night in a posada Chivalrous 
Jos Mixed company Good-bye to the hills. 

THE rain poured in torrents, and the clouds were 
so black that at three in the afternoon we sat in 
semi-darkness ; but the time did not hang heavy 
on our hands, for I was entertained by watching 
the amenities of rny pretty girl and her lover, a 
shy youth with an odd lock of white hair over 
his forehead. And there was a wizened old fel- 
low picturesquely clad in a short brown jacket 
strengthened in the decorative style of the province 
at the elbows, wrists, collar, and seams, with black 
cloth cut in a design, and wearing really handsome 
embroidered leather overalls reaching from his 
waist to his knees, who had a sly humour that 
brought forth peals of laughter from the company. 
He sharpened his wits upon Mariquita and her 
Kafael, but I took care not to understand these 
jokes, knowing that they are apt to embarrass a 
modest British matron ; and as soon as I could I 
turned the conversation by asking if it was true 
that there was a susto (fright), miedo (fear), or 
duende (ghost) haunting the river, as I had heard 



tell in Algodonales. It was not strictly true that 
I had heard such a tale, but I know by experience 
that an inquiry of the kind, if made sympathetically, 
often brings forth some interesting folk-lore. 

It did so in this case, and the story proved so 
strange that I must tell it in full. 

I learnt that the venta is haunted by the ghost 
of a white cat, which appears outside the door and 
vanishes up the gully in the direction of a place 
called Las Cuevas. 

How did they know it was a ghost, and not a 
real cat ? 

Because there was no white cat on the premises, 
and because it answered when spoken to. Many 
people had seen it, and if they said 

" Gatito, gatito, porque tan flaquito ? " 
(Little cat, little cat, why art thou so thin, or feeble?) 

The cat would answer 

"Porque 'tamo* li'to'," 

which is the peasant pronunciation of " estamos listos." 
The correct meaning of this is " Because we are 
ready," or "clever" (listo has both meanings), but 
they here gave " listo " the meaning of " finished " or 
" done with." 

But why did the cat go up to the Cuevas (caves) ? 
And what caves did it go to ? And who were 
referred to as " finished " ? 

Well, it went there because there were other 
ghosts there, many of them animals in all sorts 
of shapes ; but the cat was the only one that spoke. 


There always had been a susto in that gully. The 
cuevas ? Well, they were just caves, like any other 
caves in the Sierra. The gipsies slept in them on 
their way from one fair to another, and shepherds 
too were glad enough to take shelter there from 
storms like the present one. Would my honour 
like to see them ? The storm was passing over now, 
and they could take me up there in a moment, 
before I continued my journey. 

Jos6 was quite willing to accompany me to 
Las Cuevas, but pointed out that it was already 
so late that we could not hope to catch the five 
o'clock train at Moron, as the road, although quite 
safe for the rest of the way, would be muddy in 
places and make our progress slow. The Senora 
must understand that it would be night before we 
arrived, and Senoras seldom liked riding at night, 
although he had observed that day that English 
Senoras, if they were all like me the first specimen 
of the race that he had come across were much 
more valiant than those of his own country. 

The ventera's family, now quite determined to 
overcome all difficulties in the way of a visit which 
would "give importance" to their ghosts, flung 
themselves into the breach. Why should I not 
stay the night in their house ? True, it was only 
a house of poor people, but I should have a centre 
in the kitchen, and the mattress of Mariquita, and 
the bed-linen from her chest, all quite new for 
her approaching wedding. And then I could go 
on next day at my ease for the afternoon train, 
for certainly it would be fine to-morrow after the 


storm, and the mud would have dried up ; while 
as for food, if I would condescend to share the 
family puchero, it would be very rich to-day, for 
they had killed a fowl to put in it, and there 
were fresh eggs and goat cheese, and plenty of 

Who could resist such an offer? Certainly no 
archaeologist on the track of caves and ghosts. 

And now comes the really strange part of my 
story. I found the Cuevas to be a series of 
chambered tombs, more or less destroyed by the 
wind and the rain of ages, but unmistakably 
sepulchral, the necropolis of a race which still used 
implements of stone, as many remains of such 
lying in the debris around testified. And on the 
morrow, with the aid of Jose and the sons of the 
widowed ventera, I set to work to open one as yet 
untouched, and found, as I expected, a human 
skeleton extended full length on the ground, and 
with it sherds of broken pottery which enabled 
me to astonish my peasant friends by making a 
vague guess at the tens of centuries that had elapsed 
since " those dead men " were buried here. 

I saw at a glance that the Cuevas had a scientific 
importance, for close at hand I found the relics of 
a remarkable temple to the sun, with its stone 
altar for, I fear, human sacrifices, and a stone seat 
for the priests. It was beyond my power to neglect 
such a chance for research, and I sent Jose back 
to his own village while I lingered on for a week 
at the venta, digging at the tombs all day. And 
I slept, attended by Mariquita, in a tiny two- 


roomed cottage built near her mother's house for 
her to live in when she married, and shared the 
simple but excellent meals of the family, who most 
considerately suppressed the garlic as long as I 
stayed with them. 

And now for the point of my long story. Until 
the tombs were opened and the skeletons discovered, 
no one in the neighbourhood had the remotest idea 
that there had ever been burials in Las Cuevas. 
How then did the place get the reputation of being 
haunted ? The susto was of old standing, for the 
ventera was far from young, and she remembered 
hearing her grandfather say that his grandfather, 
like himself, had seen the white cat in the doorway 
of the venta, which the same family had owned for 

Upon examination I found that the present 
house, rebuilt when the actual owner was married 
some twenty-five years ago, stood on the ruins of 
a Tartessian construction, the walls of which, over 
a yard thick, were still visible, forming the boundary 
of a paved floor on which tables and benches were 
set out for the wayfarers frequenting the place. 
Previous to the rebuilding, the ruined walls had 
enclosed a tank or reservoir for winter rains, about 
ten feet deep. It had been filled up with stones 
from the hillside, because the stagnant water proved 
unhealthy ; but the place retained its ancient name, 
the Venta of the Albercdn or tank. There was no 
doubt about it, those ruined walls were pre-Koman, for 
I had to work for days to get through the fellow 
to them which sealed the entrance to one of my 


chamber tombs ; and the mortar was crystallised 
with age. 

Why, I ask again for I am quite unable to 
answer the question myself do these unlettered 
Andalucian peasants think they see the ghost of 
a white cat come out of a modern house and dis- 
appear into a burial-place, which may have dated 
from somewhere near the period when the people 
of ancient Egypt worshipped a cat, among other 
animal deities ? The only thing I can certainly say 
is that the legend is one of which no one can tell 
the origin, and that no one would be more 
astonished than these ghost-seers to learn that 
a cat was something more than a cat when those 
tombs were first dug out of the rock. From a 
certain jealousy concerning my discovery, with 
which any archaeologist will sympathise, I have 
slightly misdescribed the locale of the haunted 
caves. But every word of the story is strictly 
true, and I am quite willing to give full par- 
ticulars to any one who takes a scientific interest 
in the matter. He will not, however, hear anything 
about the cat ghost unless he speaks Spanish freely 
and adopts an attitude of awed credulity, for no 
Spanish peasant will talk of ghosts if he thinks he 
is being laughed at. 

When I finally left the venta I had to charter an 
extra donkey to carry the load of sherds of pottery, 
bricks, stones, and mortar that I had gathered in 
the neighbourhood of Las Cuevas, to say nothing of 
skulls, jaw-bones, and teeth, which Mariquita shud- 
dered at and refused to touch when I was packing 


them. But the rest of the journey to Moron was 
accomplished in perfect weather, and nothing worthy 
of note happened on the way. 

I missed my train, owing to my inveterate habit 
of stopping to study stones on the road. And the 
result was that I had to spend the night in a tiny 
and far-from-clean room over the posada where 
Jose stabled his beasts, because the only houses of 
call were full of viajantes and I could find nowhere 
else to sleep. Jose himself waited on me, for a 
posada provides no service, although a modest tip 
produced a pair of nice clean sheets from the land- 
lady of the stable. He brought me hot strong coffee 
from the cafe* which is always to be found even in 
small Spanish villages, coaxed hot water from some 
unknown place, for there is never a kettle in a 
posada, and slept with his head on my baggage at 
the foot of the stairs leading up to my room. 

" It was no place for a lady," he said, " but at 
least he knew the people to be honest, and I could 
feel quite safe (as indeed I did) with himself close 
at hand." 

I only caught three fleas in my bed, which I 
thought a moderate allowance for a room over a 
stable, and when I was awakened by the chumping 
and stamping of the numerous animals below me I 
smiled to think of my family's horror could they 
have seen my quarters that night. They have 
accustomed themselves, by force of circumstances, 
to the idea of my sleeping on straw mattresses in 
country cottages, but this was my first introduction 
to a posada. 


I do not know that I yearn to repeat the experi- 
ment, but it was worth while for once. The dis- 
comfort was atoned for by the picturesqueness of 
the stable through which I had to pass to get in and 
out of my room, with the animals and their owners 
dimly outlined in the light of two or three ancient 
olive-oil lamps hung here and there on the walls. 
A Madonna-like young mother with a baby at her 
breast, resting against a pair of panniers which her 
husband had backed up with a load of straw and 
covered with a gay striped rug, formed a pretty 
contrast to a grey-haired old man who was cooking 
his supper on a blackened brick stove in a corner 
near by. And the people of the house, fat and comely 
and pleasant-looking, sat on a queer little landing 
half-way upstairs, sewing and chatting under a two- 
candle-power electric bulb hanging from a wire so 
thick with flies that it looked like a hempen rope. 
They seemed quite indifferent to those around, but 
I saw that they were keeping a watchful eye on the 
comings and goings below, ready to secure their 
money at any moment from the customer whose 
movements indicated an early departure with his 
donkey. The gallery gave on to a tiny kitchen, 
where they cooked their own meals, although de- 
clining, as the law permits, to cook mine. It was 
hung with brightly polished brass utensils, and a 
few bits of coarse pottery adorned the chimney shelf. 
Among these was a curious old plate of local manu- 
facture, which they sold to me for a few pence when 
I took my leave in the morning. 

And so ended that trip in the Sierra. A chill 


in the air told me that winter was approaching as 
I rode down to the station, escorted to the very 
carriage door by the faithful Jose ; and with a sigh 
of regret I saw my jamugas consigned to the luggage 
van, knowing that they would now have to lie idle 
at home for many weeks to come. 



Mourning customs " Keening " the dead The night before the 
funeral Sympathetic friends " Accompanying " the mourn- 
ers A verbal error Black masks at a dance A black- 
draped house The locked piano Three years' seclusion 
The mourning of the poor Black shirts but laughing faces 
" Killed in action "The heroism of Rosa" My Papa " 
Why Paz will be an old maid. 

MOURNING in Spain is a serious feature of family 
and social life. Even in the larger towns one sees 
but a slight tendency to move with the times, and 
away from Madrid, Seville, or Barcelona the rigid 
observance of ancient customs is, like the customs 
themselves, quite Oriental. 

I remember being kept awake almost all one 
night in a large town by an extraordinary concert 
of lamentable sounds which issued from a tenement 
house next door. First came a long tenor wail, 
rising and falling in a minor key, then . a precisely 
similar wail in a deep contralto, and then in a shrill 
treble, evidently from a child. I learnt next morn- 
ing that an infant had died in the house in question, 
and that the father, the mother, and a small brother 
had been "keening" the dead all night long. This 
demonstration of grief is not so common now as it 
was a few years ago, even among the least educated 



classes, but other peculiarities hardly more in accord- 
ance with modern ideas are to be observed among 
mourners of all ranks. 

Of these one of the strangest, to our ideas, is the 
custom of holding what might be called a wake over 
the corpse the night after death. The funeral has 
to take place within twenty-four hours, an excellent 
sanitary regulation which we English might adopt 
with advantage. But, as a young lady in deep 
mourning for her adored mother calmly remarked 
to me, "It is true that in the cold climate of 
England dead persons do not decompose so rapidly 
as here." It is also true that twenty-four hours amply 
suffice to put the family into mourning in a country 
where every woman has, as a matter of course, a suit 
of black in her wardrobe all the year round, so that 
no time is lost in making clothes for the funeral, and 
on the night after a death has taken place all the 
most intimate friends are ready to sit round in token 
of sympathy. 

A great deal of very real kindness is shown in 
cases of severe illness. Trained nurses are seldom 
or never called in, but the friends take turns to sit 
up with the family and the patient, and, if they are 
not rich, keep them supplied with chickens, eggs, 
and whatever else may be of use in the sick-room. 
The custom of " accompany ing" the sufferer is, how- 
ever, sometimes embarrassing to foreigners. On one 
occasion, when a member of my family was supposed 
to be in articulo mortis, his most intimate Spanish 
friend almost insisted on sharing my night-watches ; 
and when at length I persuaded him that even his 


sympathetic presence might prove injurious to one 
for whom absolute quiet was the only chance, he 
said with intense conviction 

" At least you must promise to send for me at 
any moment of the day or night when you know the 
last hour is at hand, that I may witness the ascent 
of so noble a soul to heaven ! " 

My appreciation of what I knew was meant for 
the truest kindness hardly mitigated my repugnance 
to the mere suggestion of such an intrusion on one's 
privacy at such a time. Happily for Don Antonio's 
feelings as well as for mine, the illness took a favour- 
able turn, and our friend's tears of delight at the 
good news quickly obliterated the jar he had all 
unconsciously inflicted on one's susceptibilities at 
the time of crisis. Another friend, out of sheer 
courtesy and goodness of heart, contrived to shock 
still more our British ideas : he came post-haste, on 
hearing that the patient was given up, to offer his 
services in the arrangements for the funeral ! 

Our ideas of keeping the sick-room free from 
movement or noise, and our refusal to receive at the 
bedside all the kind Spanish friends who came to 
inquire, struck them as very strange indeed, for with 
them sympathy is necessarily expressed by providing 
plenty of company " to cheer the sufferer " and those 
near and dear to him. I remember on one occasion 
being pressed by a friend to go and call on the 
mother of a girl who was desperately ill with menin- 
gitis a complaint which (if correctly diagnosed) 
seems curiously common among the well-to-do in this 
country. I demurred, on the ground that my very 


slight acquaintance with the lady hardly justified 
my intruding on her grief and anxiety. 

" But she is my cousin, and you are my friend, 
and she will certainly notice your absence if you do 
not go." 

I went. I counted twelve women and girls in 
the patient's room, for I was obliged to go upstairs 
and look at the poor girl through the open door, or 
be regarded as cruelly unkind by the mother. 

She died, as was to be expected, a few days later, 
and I had to appear at the house of mourning on 
the evening of the funeral, accompanied by the one 
member of our family belonging to the dead girl's 
generation. I had a black dress, but my girl had 
only a white one, and we had hoped that this might 
be accepted as an excuse for her non-appearance. 
By no means. The cousin and her two daughters 
came in person, swathed in black silk shawls from 
head to foot, to insist on our both going with them 
to " dar el pe'same" to express sympathy with the 

It was one of the most distressing experiences I 
have had in Spain. We elder people all sat round 
the room on chairs, sofas, and settees too heavy 
to move an inch from their appointed places, and 
one by one we were led into a small inner room 
where the mother, blind with crying, sat hunched 
up with her elbows on her knees and her head on 
her hands, giving loud utterance to her unrestrained 

" Oh, my daughter, my dear companion ! Oh, my 
daughter, my dear companion ! " she moaned over and 


over again in a voice hoarse with sobbing, and not 
in the least knowing what she was saying. 

We had to sit down and kiss her tear-drenched 
cheek and say what a beautiful and charming girl 
her Bele"n had been, and offer a conventional prayer 
for divine consolation, and then some one else came 
in to take our place, amid a fresh burst of sobs and 
moans. The poor soul had worked herself into a 
state of hysterics, but through it all was conscious 
that she was fulfilling her friends' expectations and 
doing the right thing by her daughter in thus prov- 
ing herself helplessly broken down by her trouble. 
Self-restraint on such an occasion is considered to 
show coldness of heart and a lack of respect and 
affection for the dead. 

When I came out after my painful interview with 
the mother, I found all the young cousins and com- 
panions of poor Belen in shrieks of laughter, and 
they all turned on me exclaiming 

" Oh Dona Elena, how funny your Olivita is ! 
What amusing things she says ! And what strange 
customs you have in your country ! " 

It appeared that my "Olivita" had been trying 
to explain in her still imperfect Spanish that in 
England young men and maidens were allowed to 
go out walking together, unchaperoned as here by 
" Mamma" on one side and "my aunt" on the other. 
And in mistake for pasear, to go out walking, she 
had used the word besar, which means to kiss. So 
that our mourners took her to say that it was the 
custom in England for the men and girls to kiss each 
other whenever they met in the street, and their 


amusement at the idea had completely blotted out of 
their minds for the time being the melancholy reason 
for their meeting. 

The elder ladies took it all as a matter of course. 

" Poor children," they remarked ; " they are very 
tired, and they laugh easily. It is quite natural, and 
generally happens on these sad occasions." 

As may be imagined, such vociferous grief does 
not long endure ; but well as I thought I understood 
the Spanish temperament, I was rather shocked when 
on one occasion two girls in black masks and dom- 
inoes accosted me at a Carnival dance, and revealed 
themselves as the sisters of a youthful bride who had 
died, with her baby, less than a month before. 

They threw themselves on my mercy, fearing that 
I might recognise them, and begged me not to betray 
their escapade to their mother, who believed them 
to be spending the evening with a sick friend, and 
whose consent had been with difficulty obtained for 
them to go out even on that errand, so soon after 
their sister's death. I think this was an exceptional 
instance of " quick frost, long thaw," but one often 
finds women in deep mourning speaking bitterly of 
the restrictions imposed by custom on their social 
and even their home life when a near relative dies. 

I have heard of the whole house, from the street 
door to the ladies' boudoir, being hung with black 
draperies for the nine days of rigorous mourning 
after the sudden death of the master of the house, 
and during all that time the women had to sit 
in semi-darkness, morning, noon, and night. The 
daughters were not allowed to touch the piano for 


three full years after their father's death. A friend 
of theirs and mine told me that the girls, who were 
very fond of music, and good pianists, moped them- 
selves into actual illness, so keenly did they feel the 
loss of their favourite occupation after their first grief 
had worn off, but nothing would induce the mother 
to have the piano unlocked. They were fresh young 
girls in their teens when the father died, full of life, 
of good social position, and with plenty of money to 
gratify every whim. When I saw them after their 
three years' seclusion they were pale, thin, and 
melancholy, and looked like women nearer thirty 
than twenty in their enveloping chiffon veils, for 
although they had left off crape they were still clad 
in black from head to foot. 

The friend in question, a young married woman 
with a devoted husband and two pretty little girls, 
had herself just emerged from a year's strict retire- 
ment after losing her mother. She told me she was 
looked on by the older generation as an unnatural 
creature, because she had now begun to play her 
beloved piano again. 

" You cannot tell how I have longed for music 
sometimes, as I grew accustomed to my loss," she 
said, " but I could not bring myself to play. It 
would have seemed so dreadful to my friends and 
relations. I have often been terribly sad. I have 
sometimes almost gone mad with depression. My 
husband has begged me to travel with him, to play 
the piano, to do anything in the world that would 
tend to lessen my sadness. But as I never obey him 
when I am happy, you may guess how little attention 


I paid to his wishes when I was mourning for my 
mother. Now it is a year since she died, and I can- 
not help it if my neighbours criticise me. I must 
begin to live again." 

The strange thing about this shocking exaggera- 
tion of the outward semblance of grief is that while 
almost every woman one meets complains of its 
absurdity, its evil effects on the health, its cruel in- 
roads on youth and happiness, none of them have 
the courage actively to rebel. 

Poor people, while of necessity rousing them- 
selves speedily to go out in search of the day's wage, 
are just as strict as the rich in their mourning garb. 
When a parent dies, everything has to be black : 
black facings are stitched on to the men's shirt 
fronts and cuffs, black cotton coats are worn, black 
neckties in place of collars, and black felt hats, even 
in the height of summer. The women for their part 
wear black underclothes beneath their black dresses, 
and tie up their heads in black handkerchiefs, some- 
times pawning all their coloured clothes to pay for 
the conventional garments of woe. Beneath these 
gloomy trappings one often sees beaming smiles and 
eyes full of life and fun ; for the workers are nothing 
if not sincere, and when they feel happy they show 
it. But when the country is in trouble whole towns 
and villages seem to feel it ; as, for instance, during 
the Moroccan War of 1909. The massacre of some two 
thousand soldiers in the death-trap of the Gurugii 
at Melilla threw a great number of poor families 
into mourning; and again in 1913, during the 
campaign of Larache, as it was here called, mourn- 


ing was widespread. Every day brought news that 
one or two or ten or twenty men had fallen in the 
guerilla war carried on against Spain by the arch- 
bandit El Raisuli : and here not only the immediate 
family of the dead man wears black for him, but 
mourning is de rigueur among all the collateral 
relations even to second and third cousins. 

This was brought home to me one day when I 
wanted to photograph a stream where women and 
girls were washing, for every one of them that day 
wore black. We finally gave up the attempt, and 
waited for another occasion, for, as I remarked to my 
photographer, we ought to introduce in the brilliant 
sunshine at least one girl dressed in colours. 

" Very true," was his answer, " but there is a 
great deal of mourning about. You see there are 
so many soldiers dying in Morocco just now." 

And many officers too, was my mental addition, 
for his words sent my thoughts with a painful re- 
bound to a scene of domestic tragedy which I had 
witnessed not long before. 

A lad of twenty-one, fresh from the Military 
Academy at Toledo, had been killed in his first action, 
within a week of landing in Africa. His younger 
brother and sister were driving to attend the Jura 
de la Handera (oath to the colours) of the new re- 
cruits on the parade-ground outside the town where 
they lived. They bought a morning paper and read 
in it the news of their brother's death, " which he 
gloriously met in the endeavour to save a wounded 
private." Their father, who was an army doctor, was 
away from home ; their mother, an invalid suffering 


from heart trouble, never read a paper. The two 
poor children, for they were nothing more, determined 
to conceal from her what had happened until their 
father's return. He meanwhile, to break the blow, 
telegraphed to her that their Antonito was wounded, 
and she jumped to the conclusion that he was bring- 
ing the young man home to be nursed, and for three 
mortal days Julian and Adelita kept their secret and 
watched their mother preparing the bedroom and 
making cooling drinks and strengthening broths for 
the boy who was already in his grave. 

My girl, who was a great friend of theirs, told 
me that Adela and her brother broke down com- 
pletely when they were with her and out of their 
mother's sight, but they contrived somehow or other 
to pull themselves together and bear brave faces 
before her, even when she called them straight from 
the condolences of sympathetic friends in the cancela 
to ask their opinion of this or that arrangement she 
had made for the comfort of their lost brother. They 
thought that their father, being a doctor, would 
know how to tell her what had happened without 
danger to her health, when he came home, and that 
gave them strength to play their parts. 

Poor children and poor mother ! When on the 
third day the cab drove up and the father got out 
alone, Dona Ramona needed no telling of the truth. 
She cried out, " My son is dead ! I knew it all the 
time," and fell fainting on the floor. And even then 
Adela and Julian subdued their own grief, while 
they helped to carry her upstairs and lay her on the 
bed which she did not leave again for many weeks. 


And here I should like to tell another little story, 
also of brave self-restraint in the face of death, 
though of a different character. 

Whatever may be the attitude of certain classes 
of Spaniards towards their religion and their priests, 
it is certain that most ladies of gentle birth believe 
implicitly in the dogmas and teaching of their Church. 
And of these one tenet of the truth of which they 
are absolutely convinced is that a soul which leaves 
the body unshriven will suffer doubly in purgatory, 
unless Supreme Unction is omitted owing to wilful 
obstruction on some one else's part. In such a case 
the one who interferes with the last rites must 
bear the penalty, which here, in the belief of a 
strict Catholic, amounts to little less than > eternal 

A girl friend of mine saw her mother suddenly 
struck down with pneumonia, and the doctors told her 
that the case was quite hopeless, and that death must 
supervene within three days. None of the family 
had had the slightest idea that there was any danger, 
and when Rosa returned to the sick-room after hear- 
ing the verdict, her mother reproached her for being 
so long away. 

" I heard you talking," she said ; " who were you 
with, and what was all the conversation about ? " 

" It was the the laundress," said Rosa, " you 
know how careless she is." 

Her great-aunt, a stern old lady who ruled Rosa 
and her sister with a rod of iron, here called the girl 
out of the room. 

" Not a moment must be lost," she said. " We 


must immediately send for the priest, lest your 
mother should suddenly die without the Holy 

And now Eosa, a plump, placid, and hitherto 
seemingly characterless person, showed what filial 
love is capable of. I will finish the story in her 
own words, as she related it to me a few months 

" I knew that if the priest came it would frighten 
my mother terribly. She was not at all frightened 
then, and was she to spend her last days on earth in 
a state of panic ? ' I will not send for the priest/ I 
told my great-aunt, for it was my duty to send in 
the absence of my father, because I was the elder of 
the children and a nearer relation than my great- 
aunt. She was very angry. ' You know what this 
means ? ' she asked, and I said c Yes/ I knew what 
my punishment would be, and I was willing to 
remain for ever in purgatory to spare my mother 
the fear and pain of knowing that she must leave 
us all. I was very frightened, but I would not give 
way, and my father is a free-thinker, so w r hen he 
came home he said I had done well. But after my 
mother was dead (she died quite peacefully, thinking 
she was only falling asleep) my conscience troubled 
me very much, and I went and told what I had 
done to our confessor. And he was very gentle to 
me. He said : ' Child, there are moments when 
what seems a mortal sin is only a lesser sin.' And 
he gave me only a little penance, for he said he 
knew I had suffered very much." 

I am generally very careful to refrain from 


expressing any sort of opinion regarding the rites 
and rules of a religion which is not my own ; but 
on this occasion I forgot myself. I told Kosa she 
had behaved nobly, and kissed her on both cheeks 
as heartily as if I had been a Spanish lady. With 
immense difficulty I had induced the father and the 
terrible great-aunt to let Rosa come with me to the 
seaside, for she had been ailing ever since her 
mother's death, and it was considered impossible for 
her to leave the house in her own town, even for 
the walks which the doctor had recommended as 
necessary exercise. 

" Dear Dona Elena, you are too good to me," she 
said, returning my embrace with effusion ; " how glad 
I am Papa let me come to stay with you. Paz and I 
were both getting so dreadfully fat sitting indoors 
all day, and oh ! so triste. My mother liked society 
and amusement, as you know, and she took us out 
every day to the Promenade or to pay visits, and 
now we can never go out at all, except to Mass, and 
we were getting fatter and fatter. Paz has her 
novio, but I had nothing to distract me till you 
brought me here. If it were not for my dear Papa 
I should like to stop with you all the summer." 

Her "dear Papa" was a distinguished-looking 
man who earned a good income in a Government 
office, but having perpetrated a poem or two when 
younger, went through life posing as a soul astray 
in a desert of uninteresting fact. He wore rather 
long hair thrown back from his forehead in pictur- 
esque disarray. The picturesqueness was, however, 
somewhat discounted by my simple Rosa, who, 


seeing a bottle of a favourite Spanish hair-wash on 
my table, naively observed 

" My Papa is using this. His hair has got thin 
on the top of his head, and he is so worried about 
it ! Do you think this stuff is any good ? Paz and 
I take turns to rub it on his scalp every night for 
half an hour before he goes to bed, but I don't see 
much difference." 

"My Papa" was by no means a disconsolate 
widower. While the women of the family carry 
their mourning to the exaggerated lengths I have 
described, the men resume their usual habits a very 
short time after the funeral. Thus Papa's daughters 
would often have to sit up very late at night to 
attend to his hyacinthine locks before he went to 
bed, but they took it all as a matter of course, and 
would have been extremely surprised had I hinted 
that Kosa's delicate health and over-strained nerves 
might be a sufficient excuse for her release from 
these nocturnal duties. This is another aspect of 
the Oriental tradition the inability of both men 
and women to realise that the husband or the father 
has not the right, simply because he is the husband 
or the father, to demand from his women-folk the 
service of slaves at all hours of the day or night, 
regardless of their convenience, happiness, or health. 

When their mother had been dead a year, and 
Eosa and Paz had recovered their natural spirits 
and were ready to enjoy life again, their father had 
an attack of influenza, and both the girls got into a 
panic lest they were to be left doubly orphaned. 
He was not seriously ill, but very sorry for himself, 


and for months afterwards, whenever he caught the 
slightest cold or felt the least little indigestion, he 
would come home from his office and go straight to 
bed, and then he expected both his daughters to be 
ready to wait upon him. Paz always had to prepare 
his meals, because she knew better than the cook 
how he liked them flavoured ; and Rosa had to be 
on hand to sit with him, read to him, and generally 
anticipate his every requirement. And as they 
never knew when he might feel unwell and come 
home to bed, and as he, of course, never dreamed of 
sending them notice beforehand from his office, it 
ended in his daughters literally never daring to go 
out at all after lunch. 

I was shocked when I discovered the life they 
were leading. The novio of Paz had broken off the 
engagement, nominally because she could not pay 
her weekly duty calls on his mother, who was a 
stickler for etiquette and had no sympathy with 
" my Papa's " hypochondria, and the only gleam of 
brightness on the poor girls' horizon was the 
appearance of a lover for Rosa, the quiet one of the 
sisters, who had never attracted attention like hand- 
some Paz. It was quite useless to ask them out, 
to suggest their taking turns in keeping Papa 
company, to make impromptu calls on the way to 
cinematographs or theatres on the chance of finding 
them free. Papa always either had just gone to 
bed or was just expected home to dinner; their 
duty to him had become an obsession, and the 
obsession was encouraged by him from purely selfish 
motives, and by the old aunt because in her view 


the girls would be committing a grave breach of 
decorum in going into society so soon (well over a 
year !) after their mother's death. And worst of all, 
papa, from pure jealousy, objected to Rosa's lover and 
forbade him the house, professing to have discovered 
that his means were uncertain, and announcing that 
he had no intention of spending his own hard-earned 
money on the support of an idle son-in-law. 

But for once Papa met his match. The lover 
was neither idle nor impecunious, but a man of 
strong character and good position, and he was 
genuinely attached to our placid Rosa. So one fine 
morning the lovers met at Mass, and got married 
after a fashion peculiar, I believe, to Spain. 

Just before the Mass ended they stepped forward, 
declared themselves man and wife, and asked for a 
blessing on their union. The priest may object, but 
he cannot refuse, for he must pronounce the bene- 
diction after saying Mass, and that serves as the 
blessing which sanctions these stolen marriages. 

So Rosa went away with her husband and was 
happy, and soon fined down to her normal soft but 
shapely plumpness, while poor Paz stayed at home 
and pandered to her father until she came to weigh 
something like two hundredweight. 

I met her quondam novio shortly after Rosa's 
marriage, and gently reproached him for deserting 
the girl whom he had "pretended to" for so long. 

" Don't blame me," he said ; " it's all her father's 
fault for not letting her take enough exercise to keep 
her fat down. I am not tall (he was about five feet 
high, a slim little pocket Adonis), and I haven't the 


courage to make myself ridiculous by marrying a 
woman who will make two of me before she is thirty." 
I could not help feeling that there was some- 
thing to be said on his side ; but once again the 
cruel results of this branch of Spanish etiquette 
became apparent. If Paz had been able to lead a 
natural life, walking by day and dancing by night, 
as she did while her mother was living, she would 
not have lost either her figure or her lover, for 
before they went into mourning she and Rosa were 
among the merriest and most active of all the girls 
in their set. And now one can anticipate for her 
no brighter future than to be the maiden aunt to 
Rosa's children, a sort of household drudge and 
mother's help for life ; beloved, it is true, by the 
nephews and nieces, who will regard her with an 
affection almost if not quite equal to that bestowed 
on their mother herself, but always just " my aunt," 
a woman in a subordinate position, given a home 
for the sake of her services as nurse while the 
children are young, and as duenna when the girls 
grow up. She will always be cheerful and philo- 
sophical, for Paz is made that way, and she will 
always be practical and helpful in the house. But 
she will be an old maid, a good wife spoiled, and 
she will feel it to the end. And all because when 
she was yet in her teens she was compelled to sit 
indoors for a year after her mother's death, and 
therefore grew so fat that her lover was frightened 
away. Poor Paz ! She is one of many victims to 
a ridiculous and indefensible custom and a mistaken 
sense of duty. 


Entertaining in town and country Critical guests A subscrip- 
tion ball Le dernier cri from London Dancing in a bog 
Why the ladies went home The search for Spanish gaiety 
A disappointed artist Afternoon calls Arab hospitality 
Ladies at work Spanish unpunctuality A new winter 
coat Maria's compliment Open house to old servants 
Carmen the cigarrera. 

IT does not cost much to entertain in Spain, at any 
rate in the smaller towns. In the large towns 
things are otherwise, and it may be as well to begin 
by relating an incident that I heard of in connection 
with some very pleasant friends who lived in one of 
the " capitals," which means the chief town of the 
great provinces into which Spain is divided. Here 
there is a great deal of cursileria a slang term 
best translated as " snobbishness " and as every 
lady who gives a party wishes to spend more than 
any other lady, and as pride is everywhere more 
plentiful than pesetas, little hospitality is shown to 
or by people who are not rich. 

An heiress had married the head of an old and 
noble family who himself possessed hardly anything 
beyond the family estate in Castile. Just when 
her eldest girl put on her first long frock and was 
about to be presented at Court, my friend lost 

almost all her money through some unfortunate 



speculation on the part of her husband for the 
husband, be it observed, is absolute master of his 
wife's property in Spain. After the first shock the 
Condesa removed to a smaller house, and arranged 
her mode of life to suit her altered circumstances, 
while the Conde, a Colonel in the King's Guard, 
went to Madrid as usual to fulfil his duty at Court. 

One of the things saved from the wreck was a 
grand piano, for the Condesa was a first-rate musi- 
cian, and on Salud's eighteenth "name-day" a party 
was arranged with the double "object of "offering 
the new house " to their large circle of acquaintance, 
and giving the girl a little amusement at home, 
since it was now out of the question for her to have 
a season at Madrid. The three daughters set to 
work and made paper flowers a pretty accomplish- 
ment in which Spanish ladies excel and garlands 
of leaves to adorn the patio. The Condesa herself 
superintended the preparation of various dainty 
little refreshments for her guests, and everything on 
the eventful night was as bright and attractive as 
good taste and willing hands could make it. 

But there were no ices, no champagne, no set 
supper, and no band, the girls of the house taking 
turns to play endless seguidillas, rigodones, and 
valses for their guests. And when the dance was 
over and the Condesa and her daughters stood in 
the patio saying good-bye to those whom they had 
done their best to entertain, they heard one 
aristocratic dame remark to another of her kind 

" Were you ever before invited to anything 
quite so shabby ? Really, if Maria de las Nieves 


could not afford something better than that, she 
had no business to invite us at all ! " 

But this specimen of aristocratic courtesy was 
displayed in a " capital," and things fortunately are 
very different in more out-of-the-way places. 

In these I have seen young people meet together 
to talk and laugh and dance for hours, quite satisfied 
with no more costly refreshment than a bottle of 
water with a single glass from which they all drank 
in turn ; while a lady who held weekly receptions 
to which we were invited once for the whole year, 
was regarded as quite a liberal hostess because she 
provided weak coffee and biscuits ad lib. 

It was in a country town that I had the pleasure 
of attending my first and only subscription ball 
in Spain. The King's approaching marriage had 
brought everything English very much into fashion, 
and we were received on entering the theatre, 
where the ball was held, by the young gentleman 
who had got us the tickets, dressed as a Pierrot 
but wearing a bowler hat from Christie's, whose label 
was displayed by an ingenious turn of the hand as 
he led me into the dancing-room, otherwise the 
auditorium of the theatre. 

It was Carnival, and most of the dancers were 
in fancy dress. The place was prettily decorated, 
and the boxes and dress circle were crowded with 
spectators. All the elder ladies were wearing black 
or white mantillas or Manila shawls, and one ought 
to have received an impression of smartness or even 
of elegance. But something was wrong somewhere 
to our English eyes, and instead of admiring the 


coup d'ceil one cast about to see why one felt as if 
one had accidentally intruded upon a festivity in 

" Will you dance with me ? " asked the Pierrot of 
a girl of our party, who, by the way, wore a realistic 
beggar's dress, all red and yellow rags, which her 
Spanish friends thought very absurd because it had 
cost only a few pesetas. And as the couple moved 
off together I suddenly discovered why the scene 
reminded me of a London coster dance. Every 
young man and many of the old ones wore a hat 
generally a bowler and even if he took it off to 
valse, which not many of them did, he carried it 
carefully under his arm as he danced, regardless of 
the inconvenience to his partner. 

" What do you think of our ball ? " asked an 
acquaintance, who was smoking a cigarette as well 
as wearing his hat. 

I was tactless enough to say that it looked odd 
to us to see so many hats about, and I noticed that 
the young man's face fell. I learnt afterwards that 
the bowler from Christie's was believed to be 
absolutely the dernier cri in England, and that 
being so, it was considered as appropriate to the 
ballroom as to the street. 

The entertainment was got up by the rank and 
fashion of the town, so everybody behaved with 
great dignity, and there was none of the rollicking 
fun we expected to see at a Carnival ball. The 
ladies in the boxes continually threw serpentinas 
and confetti at the dancers, until the floor was inches 
deep in them, and an Irish girl in our party said 


she felt as if she was dancing in one of her native 
bogs. But no one got excited, and an English artist 
on the look out for local colour began to bewail the 
absence of the light and life that he had believed 
inseparable from Spanish society. 

A little before 1 a.m. there was a universal 
move towards the centre of the theatre, and at a 
given signal the heavens seemed to open and a 
mass of paper flowers, confetti, and bonbons con- 
cealed behind the garlands draping the ceiling, 
showered down on our heads, while a number of 
white pigeons were let loose and flew about in 
terror ; but still nobody got excited. When this 
was over the Pierrot in charge of our party called 
the eldest of the Englishmen aside and asked him 
to take his ladies home, " because other ladies would 
be coming now " a gentle hint, on which all the 
English and most of the Spanish dames hastily took 
their departure. The artist was the only one of us 
who stayed, hoping that with the advent of the 
" other ladies " he might see something of the 
celebrated animation which he wanted to introduce 
into his pictures of Spanish life. He told us next 
day that he had stopped till 4 a.m., and then came 
home escorted by half the Spanish army and all the 
Spanish navy as represented at the ball most of 
them rather and some of them very drunk, but 
solemn to the last. 

" Spanish gaiety is a fraud," he indignantly 
declared, and departed in dudgeon, shaking the dust 
of our town off his feet. 

But when I came to know more of Spanish 


society I understood why all the ladies and many 
of the men were so solemn on that occasion. Being 
at a subscription and thus a semi-public ball, they 
considered that it would be infra dig. to show that 
they were amused. I never went to another such 
dance, for I prefer natural fun among young people 
at a party, but I would not have missed that one 
for the world ; it was so delightfully unlike anything 
else of the kind one had ever seen. 

Afternoon calling in Spain is very different from 
the quarter-of-an-hour duty visit or the formal leav- 
ing of cards which is customary in England or was 
when I left my native country ten years or so ago. 

Here it is a serious matter for those who have 
any sort of occupation, for one is expected to stay 
never less than an hour, and indeed your intimate 
friends are hurt if you don't remain the whole 

It is absolutely contrary to etiquette to go out 
when you have visitors, no matter how important 
an engagement you may have made before the 
uninvited guests appeared. I have known friends 
fail to arrive when expected to a ceremonious dinner 
at our house, and the all-sufficient reply to my 
reproaches has been, " I was very sorry, but what 
was I to do ? We had visitors." 

This exaggerated regard for the duties of hospi- 
tality in your own house, coupled with a calm dis- 
regard of any obligation imposed by an engagement 
to visit your neighbours, is another of the innumer- 
able survivals of Arabic tradition, and as such must 
be respected by all who would enjoy the friendship 


of Spaniards. It is stronger in the south than in 
the north, where the Oriental influence was com- 
paratively ephemeral and made no lasting impression 
on the natives. And it is even said that in 
Barcelona the Catalans sometimes turn up punctually 
when they have made a business engagement. This, 
I am credibly informed, is one of the causes, as well 
as an effect, of Catalunan prosperity. But the 
Catalans are reputed to make a boast of their 
virtues, and this ridiculous regard for punctuality 
and the rest is one of their many offences in the 
eyes of e.g. the Andalucians, who are to the Catalans 
as oil to water, and never will agree with them on 
any single question to the crack of doom. 

The extraordinary indifference of Spaniards to 
fixed hours and previously made engagements caused 
me no little trouble in connection with the photo- 
graph facing the head of this chapter. I wanted to 
take a pretty group formed day after day by the 
friends with whom I was staying, as they sat at 
work in their charming old patio, with some small 
nieces playing about them, and a typically Spanish 
air of ease and comfortable neglige pervading the 
whole scene. So I asked them to be in their usual 
rocking-chairs on a certain day, fixed by themselves, 
and arranged with the photographer to come at 
three o'clock on that afternoon, this being the time 
when my friends were always sitting there with 
their needlework, and the one hour in the whole day 
when the light in the patio, which was shadowed 
by a large orange tree, admitted of successful 


At three o'clock the patio was empty, save for a 
baby niece and her nurse. The girls, I was told, 
were dressing for the occasion. At three-thirty the 
photographer came. By that time the baby niece, 
badly bored, had begun to cry, and she continued 
to cry until at last she had to be taken away. She 
was a pretty baby, and I did not want to lose her 
from the picture. At four o'clock, when the light 
in the patio was already bad, the girls at last 
appeared, not, as had been arranged, in their every- 
day dresses prepared to sit down for a couple of 
hours' needlework, but in the costume of peasant 
girls got up for the fair, and quite obviously ladies 
in fancy dress. Nor was this the only disappoint- 
ment to a writer who wanted a picture of Spanish 
ladies at home, for the sight of the camera had 
attracted all the children of my friends' friends 
within range, and I was told by my hostess that 
great offence would be given if they were not 
allowed to figure in the photograph. 

As it was evidently useless now to attempt to 
get the sort of group I wanted, I gave way with such 
grace as I could command. The weeping baby was 
brought back, still weeping and refusing to be com- 
forted even by some artificial flowers offered by its 
mother, who had put on a beautiful Manila shawl 
as an appropriate garment for sewing in the patio. 
The children from over the way planted themselves 
as seemed good to them, and the grown ladies settled 
themselves as the photographer recommended. 
When all was ready half an hour or so later, the sun 
went behind a cloud, the baby gave an extra howl, 


my particular friend stepped out of focus, and the 
photograph was of course hopelessly spoiled. 

When the superfluous children had run away 
thinking it was all over, and most of the ladies 
had taken their leave, the sun reappeared, and the 
photographer hastily snapped the two prettiest girls, 
with the baby's mother pretending to be the nurse 
of the elder nieces, who yawned violently and in- 
formed us that their dolls had gone to sleep. 

All things considered, I think the result was fairly 
good, but it is not a picture of Spanish ladies sitting 
at home with their sewing in the reposeful attitudes 
characteristic of the land where one hour is as good 
as another. I gave that up after wasting a whole 
afternoon and a certain amount of money in the 
manner here described. Neither the ladies nor the 
photographer seemed at all concerned at the fiasco, 
nor were the former at all contrite at having caused 
it by their unpunctuality. Indeed one of them, 
adding insult to injury, informed me that if I had 
had Senor Fulano instead of Don Mengano to take 
those photographs I should have obtained better 
results. And I think it should be counted to me 
for righteousness that I refrained from pointing out 
what admirable pictures my photographer produced 
when he had not to deal with society ladies. 

The subjects of conversation at these friendly 
sewing parties are apt to be somewhat limited in 
scope, but one that never fails to please is dress in 
all shapes and forms. 

The day after the photograph fiasco was the 
saint's day, or name-day, of Maria de las Mercdde*s, 


one of the two senoritas pretending to be a peasant 
at the well in the patio. And in the afternoon I 
was invited to eat cakes and drink wine, and be 
introduced to various callers who had come to offer 
the usual congratulations. Mercedes had received, 
as a name-day present from her brother, a new 
winter coat of the latest fashion, and first she had 
to put it on to exhibit to every woman and girl who 
called, and then every girl who called had to take 
the coat and try it on for herself. How they could 
do this I can't imagine, for it was a blazing hot day 
of St. Martin's summer, and in deference to a lady 
who had a cold we were all together in a small sitting- 
room with the windows shut. But one after the 
other of Mercedes' young friends slipped into the 
garment, studied her appearance in the mirrors with 
which every Spanish sala is plentifully provided, 
suggested improvements in this or that detail, and 
invariably ended by asking how much the coat cost 
and telling the owner that it was a wonderful 

If the senoritas had brought gifts themselves, 
there might have been some excuse for their in- 
satiable curiosity as to the price of the brother's 
present ; but no : on Spanish name-days (which are 
equivalent to our birthdays) it is the heroine of the 
day who makes offerings, represented by cakes and 
wine, instead of receiving them. I trust that my 
readers will not cry " enough of King Charles's head " 
if I again remark that this is an Oriental tradition, 
just as many of the cakes themselves are made after 
Oriental recipes. 


The custom of asking the price of whatever they 
admire is universal here, and is not in the least 
considered bad manners. The first Spanish lady 
whose acquaintance we made in Spain asked us what 
we were paying at the hotel we were staying at. 
When we took a house we were always asked what 
rent we paid, and when finally we bought the house 
in which we hope to end our days, all our Spanish 
friends asked us what the price was, and held up 
their hands in congratulatory amazement, exclaiming, 
" How cheap ! " It is always a compliment to say 
you have made a good bargain, and if you wish to 
annoy, you have only to remark, " How they have 
cheated you ! " 

An old servant who lived with us for a good 
many years hoarded all her wages and spent noth- 
ing beyond the "tips" she received from visitors. 
To my certain knowledge she never bought a new 
dress for herself all the time she was with us, but 
wore my cast-off clothes when doing her work, and a 
brown, or as she called it, "Carmelite" cloth skirt, 
given her by a visitor, for Mass and the street, year 
in year out, until some one else gave her a blue serge 
which she turned and made to look like new. She 
was under a vow from her childhood never to wear 
any colour out of doors but brown, in honour of Our 
Lady of Carmel ; but the vow somehow slipped into 
the background when she received the blue serge, 
and this will probably last her till she dies, for she 
is well over seventy. 

This old lady, the first time she saw me in a 
new (and rather expensive) dress, came up and 


fingered the silk very carefully, and walked round 
and round me with expressions of enthusiastic 
admiration, such as 

" Senora, how beautiful ! How handsome you 
are in your new costume ! Never have I seen you 
look so well and so fat ! " (As in the East, stout 
women are greatly admired here.) 

And to finish up with, she said 

" Senora, the material is excellent. What did 
you pay for the dress, and where did you get it ? 
To-morrow I shall go to the shop and buy myself 
just such another ! " 

I am afraid I did not receive this proposal with 
enthusiasm ; but after a while I became used to talk 
of the kind, for I discovered that old Maria had no 
more idea of copying my clothes than she had of 
making a trip to England, and merely intended to 
suggest that sincerest form of flattery which is found 
in imitation. 

I have met with many odd incidents showing 
how in certain ways the most complete familiarity 
prevails between master and servant, although in 
others there is a gulf fixed which seems to be 

Servants, male and female, who have been 
engaged in a house even for a short time, especially 
in the country, are made more or less free of it for 
the rest of their lives. They may go away to other 
situations, or marry and set up their own homes, 
but always when they come to see their former 
mistress they walk in as if the house belonged to 
them, and are treated as if they had a perfect right 



to be there. A laundress or charwoman will arrive 
with three or four small children at her heels, and 
these will sit about in the laundry or the patio all 
day, while the mother does her work. I am bound 
to say that the little things generally behave very 
well, being trained in the hard school of necessity, 
and as soon as they can walk and talk they begin 
to run errands for the household. They soon become 
useful in this way, for errands are innumerable here. 
Save in big country houses which depend largely 
on their own farms and fruit gardens for provisions, 
it is the exception to have a storeroom, and every 
pennyworth of household sundries, down to salt, 
pepper, and spices, is bought from day to day. As 
no attempt is made to furnish a list of requirements 
for the day's meals when the cook goes to market, 
every item used in the cooking has to be got when 
it is found to be wanted a system which accounts 
for much of the unpunctuality of meals in Spanish 
houses, and for the resultant national tendency to 
various forms of dyspepsia. 

This of course does not apply to the poor, whose 
food is of the simplest. They eat bread and mor cilia 
or chorizo (varieties of dried sausage highly flavoured 
with garlic) for their lunch, and pucker o or cocido 
of which more later on for their dinner. In the 
towns they buy everything by the day, like their 
employers. But in the country they largely live 
on what they grow themselves, unless the whole 
family is engaged on the farm at a wage which 
includes food. And they thrive on bread, morcilla, 
and water, not even coffee being drunk by country 


cottagers, as I have discovered when accepting their 
hospitality on my archaeological excursions. Thus 
they have no need to be continually running to 
the comestibles shop, like their town friends, which 
is just as well when the nearest town may be 
anything from two to ten miles away. 

To return to the manners of Spanish servants. 
I was sitting one evening with friends over the 
after-dinner coffee when a picturesque creature in 
a purple garment of penitence, with a white handker- 
chief on her head, and a pair of twins in her arms, 
strolled in to tell the family that she had had a 
letter from her brother, a soldier in Morocco. They 
were all obviously interested, and while I listened 
to their sympathetic inquiries about the young 
man's health and happiness, I finished my coffee 
and handed my cup for a fresh supply. The bearer 
of the twins broke off short in her talk on noticing 
that I refused sugar. 

"Is it possible that the Senora drinks coffee 
without sugar ? Never have I heard of such a thing. 
Is it not very unpleasant to the taste ? " 

And then and there she shifted both babies on to 
one arm, took the unused spoon from my saucer, 
dipped it into my cup, and proceeded to try for 
herself what coffee without sugar tasted like. 

I had much ado to refrain from laughing, the 
woman's simple unconsciousness of offence was so 
funny. One of my friends asked me in English 

" What do you think of Spanish impudence ? " 
but no one else took any notice. 

This particular act was unusual, because every- 


body takes sugar in their coffee, so that few 
opportunities arise for a servant to sample the 
unsweetened coffee in her master's cup. But the 
licensed familiarity that underlay it is widespread. 

Sometimes, however, an excess of familiarity 
brings about condign punishment, as in a case that 
occurred in the hotel in which we stayed on our 
first arrival in Spain. 

I was alone in our little sitting-room one day, 
strumming on a guitar, when the door suddenly 
opened and in marched a large blowsy woman with 
big black eyes, a wilted rose in her hair, and a cigarette 
in her mouth. She plumped herself down on the 
only easy-chair in the place, took the guitar from 
my unresisting hands, remarked " I can play better 
than that at any rate ! " and struck up the twanging 
chords which preface every south-Spanish song. 

It was perfectly true that she played better than 
I did, though that was not saying much, for she 
could hardly have played worse. And I was so 
much amused at her calm assurance that I just sat 
and laughed, while she twanged the guitar and 
beat on the floor with her slippered foot preparatory 
to bursting into song. But the concert was quickly 
brought to an end by the entrance of an indignant 
chambermaid, who seized the guitar and soundly 
cuffed the guitarist with an Anda! Vete tu! (" Go ! 
Get out ! ") full of wrath and indignation. 

" She seems fond of music," said I deprecatingly, 
for the whole scene had been as good as a play to me. 

"Fond of music! Ca!" retorted the chamber- 
maid. " She's the washerwoman, and she's drunk ! " 


Further inquiry elicited that the washerwoman 
was a cigarrera by profession hence the cigarette, 
for respectable women in Spain do not smoke. And 
her name was Carmen ! Shades of Bizet and his 
" toreador " ! Alas ! The landlady dismissed her 
next morning, and I never had another scene from 
that play enacted before me. Incidentally I may 
remark that drunkenness among women is extremely 
rare in Spain, and I can only remember coming 
into direct contact with one other old lady the 
worse for aguardiente in all the years I have 
lived here. 



A December festival The "Mystery" A holy war The 
story of the Seises and their Dance The Triduum of 
Carnestolendas The real Don Juan The Dancers of 
Corpus Christi The defeat of Don Jaime de Palafox The 
Christmas Ship Marzapan and Polvoron The Cock's Mass 
on Christmas Eve " Nativities "The midnight "lunch" 
in the mansion The " Good Night " of the poor. 

PROBABLY every one who takes any interest at all 
in Spain has heard of the famous Dance of the 
Seises before the high altar of Seville Cathedral 
on certain festivals, i.e. that of the Immaculate 
Conception of Our Lady in December, the Carnival 
in February, and Corpus Christi in June. But no 
one either in Spain or out of it can give definite 
information with chapter and verse about the origin 
of the dance, still less of the name. 

In Spanish the word seises, plural of seis, means 
"sixes," and it is usual to conclude that the name 
was given because six little boys performed the 
curious old-world movements known as the " dance." 
But as a matter of fact ten little boys take part, 
and one seventeenth-century writer speaks of twelve 
and another of seven, and although my impression 

is that these two figures were slips of the copyists, 


d} > 


there is no evidence that the number ever was 
precisely six, as it must have been for that to be 
the origin of the name. It looks, therefore, as if 
the assumption that seises here means sixes (and 
why not Six instead of Sixes as if they were dice ?) 
were one of those hasty philological generalisations 
based upon sound alone which constantly crop up 
to puzzle the conscientious historian. 

Those who pin their faith to the obvious trans- 
lation of the word as written to-day, suggest that 
originally there were only six dancing boys, and 
that the other four were the attendants of the 
Archbishop, placed by way of ornament at the 
four corners of the carpet on which the dance 
takes place and a very beautiful old carpet it is, 
by the way. But here we meet with the objection 
that, whereas the corner boys are the tallest of 
the ten, those who attend the Archbishop are the 
smallest, and moreover that two and not four follow 
in his train. To us who know how great is the 
force of tradition in southern Spain, it is incon- 
ceivable that the Dean and Chapter, or the Arch- 
bishop, or even the Pope himself, should arbitrarily 
and for no apparent purpose, at a time which is not 
stated in any record, have added four more to the 
six boys whose number is supposed to have given 
the name to their dance. Nor is it probable that 
this particular dance should have been made numeri- 
cally more important when all over Christendom the 
religious dances of the Middle Ages were dying 
out or were being deliberately suppressed by the 


The most rational explanation appears to be that 
of a friend of mine, a distinguished Orientalist, who 
propounded a theory that the dance is a survival of 
the Mozarabic ritual, and that the little "Seises" 
were originally the sais, or attendants on the priests, 
at the time when Arabic was the only language used 
in Seville, not only by the Moslems in their mosques, 
but by the Arabicised Christians who maintained 
their own forms of worship although they had for- 
gotten their own tongue. Two little sais are seen 
in one of the illuminations of the Cantigas of 
Alfonso the Wise (1252) in attendance upon a priest 
who is worshipping the image of Our Lady of the 
See (Sede now over the high altar in the 
Cathedral), and they were provided with rations and 
education by a Bull of Pope Eugene iv. in 1438. 
But nowhere do we find any mention of their 
number, as we could hardly fail to do had it been 
limited to six ; whereas nothing would seem more 
natural than the conversion of the Arabic sais into 
the Spanish seis, when Castilian was made the 
language of reconquered Andalucia by law of 
Alfonso the Wise. 

But for the loss of the deeds and archives relat- 
ing to the faithful Mozarabs of this diocese and their 
metropolitan Church of Saint Mary during the 
troubled half-century between 1200 and the recon- 
quest in 1248, we might have known something 
about the true origin of the Seises, of the mediaeval 
fresco of " Our Lady of the Old Time/' and others of 
Mozarab tradition, of the celebrated Guilds and 
Brotherhoods which come out in procession in Holy 


Week, and of other curious details of Sevillian ritual 
touched upon in a later chapter. 

I will take the festivals enlivened by the Dance 
of the Seises in their order, beginning with the 
Octave of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed 
Virgin (to give the feast its full official title), for 
this not only comes first in point of time, its vigil 
being on 7th December, when winter weather has 
hardly yet begun in this favoured clime, but it is 
in point of fact the greatest festival in the whole 
ecclesiastical year in Seville, which city from first 
to last was the self-constituted champion of this 
" Mystery." 

No one seems to know when the belief that 
Mary as well as her Son was born without human 
agency first began to gain ground in Seville, but 
Don Manuel Serrano, who has spent most of his life 
in the study of Sevillian Church history and art, 
believes he has evidence that her " sinless birth " was 
venerated from the fourth century onwards, and that 
St. Isidore, the "learned doctor" of Seville, found 
it in the primitive rite and transferred it to his own 
liturgy not very long before the Moslem invasion. 
And since the Isidorian or Sevillian ritual (Rito 
hispalense) was the one used here by the Mozarabs 
throughout the dominion of Islam until San Fer- 
nando replaced it by the Eoman rite in 1248, 
Sevillian archaeologists have some ground for claim- 
ing that this see was par excellence " the land of 
the Blessed Virgin" (tierra de Maria Santisima) 
throughout its chequered history. At any rate, some 
evidence in favour of their claim is that the feast of 


the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin does not 
figure in the Mozarab ritual of Toledo before the 
year 1300, whereas it seems to have been in full 
swing here in 1248, for Alfonso the Wise in his 
Chronicle refers to the use in Seville of the ritual of 
" Saint Isidre 6 de San Leadre " (SS. Isidore and 
Leander), which contains this feast. 

The belief in the " Mystery " was by no means 
universally accepted after the re-conquest even in 
Seville, whatever may have been the case among the 
faithful Mozarabs, but feeling did not wax really hot 
over it until the seventeenth century. Then the 
Franciscans and Jesuits combined to work for its 
acceptance by the whole Church, while the Domini- 
cans controverted it, and Seville took the lead in 
what became almost a holy war. Extraordinary 
acts of devotion were witnessed, among the most 
remarkable being the selling of himself back into 
slavery by a freed slave, who gave the price of his 
own flesh and blood to the cult of the " Most Pure." 
He and his fellow-negroes maintained an altar to the 
Conception in the church of Our Lady of the Angels, 
and it was for this that the freed slave desired to 
raise money. And a priest in an excess of ecstasy 
actually had the A.M. (Ave Maria) branded on his 

The burning of a Dominican monastery was con- 
sidered an intervention of Providence against those 
who " insulted " Our Lady by denying her miracul- 
ous birth, and it gave rise to serious rioting, only 
quelled at last by the ecclesiastical authorities 
placing over the door of the monastery the inscrip- 


tion, "Mary, conceived without sin." To this 
period of storm and stress are to be assigned the 
numerous repetitions of the monogram A.M. (Ave 
Maria) seen over the doors of old houses in almost 
every town and village in Andalucia and other 
provinces where the controversy raged, and from 
this century dates the addition of an image of the 
Virgin to almost every one of the Holy Week pro- 
cessions, with its accompanying banner called the 
Sin Pecado, because embroidered with those words 
in testimony to Mary's immaculate conception. 
And of this period too is a remarkable festival cope 
in the church of San Lorenzo at Seville, made of 
white brocade woven all over with the monogram 
A.M. and the initials S.P.O., so that on every fold 
it reads " Hail Mary ! Born without original sin " 
(Ave Maria, Sin Pecado Original). 

And now the ancient Dance of the Seises became 
one of the most brilliant features in the festival of 
the Conception. Hitherto, one gathers, no special 
pains had been bestowed upon the costumes of the 
boys, but in 1654 it was thought desirable to bring 
them "up to date." One would give a good deal to 
know how they were dressed before this, for prob- 
ably the costumes were traditional and centuries old 
in style if not material. But the wealthy and pious 
Sevillians had then as now but scant regard for 
relics of the past. The Chapter which thought it a 
great deed to remove the robes in which San Fer- 
nando was buried in 1252 and replace them with 
the costume of their own day (in which costume the 
embalmed corpse of the great general and saintly 


monarch is still displayed to the gaze of his wor- 
shippers three times in every year) such a Chapter 
would be incapable of seeing anything worth pre- 
servation in the dancing-boys' dress of, say, the 
thirteenth century. And they readily found a 
devout old couple to present a complete new set of 
" ornaments " for the festival of the Conception in 
the Cathedral, including costumes for the Seises. 

The benefactors were Don Gonzalo Nunez and 
his wife, Dona Mercia, who had recently returned 
from the Indies with a handsome fortune. He was 
old and crippled with gout and other ailments, but 
he was borne into the Cathedral on a carrying-chair 
to attend the octave of the feast from the 7th to 
the 14th of December 1654, and thus he was able to 
witness " the incredible delight of the entire city " 
at the splendid trappings provided for the popular 
ceremony by his own and his wife's munificence. 

No less than 150,000 ducats, or 40,000 of our 
money, did the pious pair set aside to endow the 
Feast of the Immaculate Conception, "in order to 
make it as splendid as that of Corpus Christi," and 
they gave the money in their lifetime too, instead 
of bequeathing it by will so as to enjoy it themselves 
as long as they lived. There were new blue and 
white vestments for the priests, blue and white 
draperies for the pulpit, the reading-desk, and the 
Archbishop's throne, blue and white banners, even 
cushions of blue and white for the Archbishop to 
kneel on in the choir and before the high altar. 
Now for the first time the little boys were given 
vestments of blue and white, " colours of the 


Mystery," and so comprehensive was the scheme 
laid down by the generous Don Gonzalo that, as the 
archive says, " even the Singing Children called 
Seises" had "all their borders and fringes of equal 
cost and richness " with those of the Dean himself. 

Nor were women entirely left out in this endow- 
ment, for it was ordered that " certain poor maidens " 
should be provided with dowries out of the 40,000, 
and these maidens were to walk in the processions 
throughout the Octave clad to match the Seises in 
white robes and hooded mantles of blue, such as 
Murillo was depicting then in his representations of 
the Virgin. Dona Mercia for her part endowed the 
Capilla de las Doncellas (Chapel of the Maidens) in 
the cathedral, and here until recent years the dowries 
provided by her husband and herself were annually 
distributed, and here portionless girls even now go to 
pray for good husbands, although unfortunately most 
of the endowment funds mysteriously disappeared in 
the last quarter of the nineteenth century. 

One of the interesting details in this donation is 
the light it throws on the condition of the silk weav- 
ing industry of Seville in the seventeenth century. 
All the vestments, of whatever class, the altar and 
other hangings, the costumes of the Seises, and the 
dresses for the maidens, were to be " of the finest 
possible materials," and they were " to be woven for 
the purpose in the city of Seville, which in such 
weaving does not give place either to Milan or 
Naples." Such is the wording of the deed of gift. 
Had Don Gonzalo himself been a silk merchant we 
might have suspected prejudice in favour of his own 


manufactures ; but not so, he had made his fortune 
as a general trader with the New World. 

The silk industry of Seville dated from Arabic 
times, and appears to have been at its height in the 
eleventh century under the beneficent rule of the 
Abbadite kings, who brought civilisation and luxury 
here to a greater height than ever was attained in 
Cordova, always more distinguished for literature 
and science than for arts or industries. The Beni 
Abbad were Yemenite Arabs, and their family with 
many others of Yemenite descent (contrary to what 
is generally supposed) had peacefully established 
themselves side by side with the Christian natives 
in the eighth century. They had a full appreciation 
of the benefits of commerce and industry, for the 
Yemenites were not nomads like many other Arabs, 
but had developed, with the aid of their conquerors 
the Persians, a remarkable civilisation and art in 
their beloved capital, Sana, the traditional glories 
of which were still the theme of their poets several 
centuries after the Arab occupation of Spain. Thus 
we find in the silks, damasks, and brocades manu- 
factured in Seville right down to the seventeenth 
century a curious Egypto-Persian influence in design, 
an influence which, strange to say, even now persists 
in the beautiful work done by Andalucian women, 
whether lace, embroidery, or drawn thread, and in 
the naive traditional birds and beasts painted on the 
pottery of Triana. So characteristic are these designs 
that it is easy to recognise the Seville school of art 
from the earliest Arabic times down to the present 
day, while the productions of the seventeenth century 


can be dated with tolerable accuracy by a new 
feature which then appeared, as a result of the 
Sevillian devotion to the " Immaculate." 

New, however, is hardly the correct word, for it 
had its root in the sacred lotus of Egypt, whose 
pointed leaves symbolised the flame of life, wor- 
shipped from prehistoric ages. 

As far back as the thirteenth century this lotus 
or lily (azucena) had been adopted as their heraldic 
device by the knightly Order of Our Lady of Old 
Time, and in 1400 when they began to rebuild the 
Cathedral of Seville it was assumed as the heraldic 
arms of the Chapter. Now, in consequence of the 
general devotion to the " Mystery," the device be- 
came known as the " Heraldic Arms of the Virgin," 
and henceforth the jar or vase, with the two-branched 
lily springing from it, is ubiquitous in Andalucian 
design. The calix of the lotus flower turned into 
the vase, while the stamens and pistils grew into the 
two branches. Some artists indeed went so far as 
to paint the Virgin sitting on a water-lily with two 
stems, one of which had its root in the breast of 
St. Anna, her mother, and the other in that of St. 
Joachim, her father. We can hardly imagine that 
an idea so foreign to Western hagiology would have 
sprung up spontaneously after the Mozarab rite had 
been suppressed in favour of the Eoman on the re- 
conquest of Seville, whereas it would only be natural 
that the art of the Mozarabic Church should be 
influenced by Eastern ideas at the time when the 
members of that Church were in intimate contact 
with the Arabic civilisation and were practically 


isolated from the rest of Christendom. As for the 
Egyptian (or Coptic) tradition, the Yemenite Arabs 
would have brought it with them in the eighth 
century, when they came to Spain after their con- 
quest of Egypt, and it would be reinforced by the 
close intimacy which existed in the eleventh century 
between the Fatimite Khalifs and the Abbadite court 
in Seville. 

Thanks to Don Gonzalo Nunez the celebration 
of the Immaculate Conception has been observed in 
Seville since 1654 with greater magnificence than 
anywhere else. The columns of the transepts and 
nave are draped from top to bottom with crimson 
velvet curtains, for which the merchants of Seville 
subscribed 17,000 towards the close of the century, 
the whole of the reredos and the high altar are 
covered with plates of chased silver, and the pyx is 
placed in a shrine of gold surrounded by a coronal 
of blazing diamonds, each as large as a small pea. 
This is raised high above the actual altar, and gleams 
dazzlingly through the dim light of the candles 
placed round it. When the bell rings for the Eleva- 
tion, after the dance of the Seises is over, the red 
velvet curtains screening the Host are slowly drawn 
back ; soft orchestral music fills the air ; the Cardinal 
Archbishop steps forward to give the benediction, 
and the thousands of worshippers kneel in silent 
adoration. Then indeed one realises the extraordinary 
hold that the "Mystery" has taken upon the ima- 
gination of the people of Seville. 

The little Seises, no matter what imps of mischief 
they may be at other times, comport themselves 


with great gravity on this occasion. Filled with 
honourable pride, convinced that their dance is the 
event towards which moves all the magnificent ritual 
of the whole Cathedral year, each small boy feels 
that everything depends on the perfection of his 
own performance. Should a single Seis err in the 
minutest detail, the whole stately dance would break 
up in confusion. For this " dance " is in truth a 
series of complicated arabesques traced by small feet 
upon a velvety carpet, each movement growing out 
of and depending upon those before and after. 
There are over two hundred musical settings, but 
there is only one rule for the dance, and a choir boy, 
however clever, has to practise it for a whole year 
before he can be promoted to the dignity of a Seis, 
the summit of his ambition. Indeed to be a Seis is 
something like winning a scholarship, for when he 
outgrows his costume and his voice begins to break, 
his future is taken care of by the Chapter, who train 
him for the priesthood if he has a bent that way, or 
apprentice him to some trade whereby he may even- 
tually earn his living, unless, as frequently is the 
case, he be the son of parents able to give him a 
professional career. 

Their dresses are still made after the seven- 
teenth-century fashion, though somewhat modified, 
and, alas ! no longer of " the best materials " to be 
obtained in Seville. The trunks of an earlier day 
have degenerated into knickerbockers down to the 
knee, but we still see the white shoes and the white 
stockings which once were trunk-hose, the round 
hats turned up at one side with feathers, doublets of 


white satin with strips of blue edged with gold, and 
streamers to match hanging from the shoulders, as 
once did the elegant cloaks of which these are the 
modest survival. For all the changes and diminished 
glories of their dress, the little Seises strike a ringing 
note from the past as they hurry across the broad 
aisle to the choir before their dance begins, eight of 
them passing along the railed-off gangway leading 
from the choir to the high altar, while the two 
smallest place themselves one on either side of the 
great carved reading-desk with its immense old 
missals, ready to take their place of honour behind 
the Cardinal-Archbishop when he moves from his 
throne to the altar. The tiny blue and white figures 
constitute an enchanting touch of childish insouciance 
among the sombre purples of the canons' robes and 
the rich brown of the carved cedar stalls, the top of 
which they can hardly look over, for they are only 
seven or eight years old ; and they stand first on 
one foot and then on the other through the long 
vespers intoned by the choirmen and the beneficed 
clergy, trying in vain to behave as if they were big 
boys not at all tired by the drone of phone and 
antiphone over their small heads. 

At last evensong is over and their moment of 
moments comes. Preceded by the Pertiguero 
with his silver wand of office, in tie-wig, wide falling 
collar, and sixteenth-century robe of black serge, the 
Chapter marches in solemn procession down the 
railed gangway from the choir to the high altar, 
the Cardinal-Archbishop in his magnificent scarlet 
robe with a Seis at each side bringing up the rear. 


The dignitaries all kneel down beside broad wide- 
armed sixteenth-century chairs placed to the right 
at the foot of the altar steps, and remain on their 
knees throughout the dance ; the orchestra strikes 
up and the Hymn of the Seises begins. It is never 
accompanied by the organ, but always by a string 
band composed of laymen, placed opposite the seats 
of the dignitaries, to the left of the altar steps. 
And this lay band suggests that the dance was 
initiated before organs were used in the primitive 
Spanish Church. 

There is nothing Oriental either in the hymn or 
in the music of the dance which follows it ; all is 
sweet, tender, and reverent as a religious ceremony 
performed by children in a church should be. But 
at the close of each couplet we are suddenly re- 
minded of the East by the rattle of castanets held 
all this time hidden in the palms of the boys' hands, 
and now played by them with a mastery of crescendo 
and diminuendo, that shows how the castanets 
may be made instruments of music, not merely of 
rhythmical noise. Here strikes the note of tradition 
once again, for the castanets are Oriental and must 
have been introduced into the Cathedral service, 
like the dance itself, by the Arabicised Christians of 
Seville under Islam. 

The hymn has two verses and the dance is gone 
through twice ; then the ten little boys run lightly 
up the steps, five on either side of the altar, make 
their reverence to the Elements shut away from 
sight in the golden pyx above the image of " Mary 
most pure " a fine sculpture in wood by Martinez 


Montanes and disappear into the sacristy at the 
back of that wealth of silver and brocade provided 
by the long-forgotten Don Gonzalo. But before 
the music of the Benediction begins half the con- 
gregation seated in the transept rise and hastily 
make their way to the Door of the Poles under the 
Giralda tower, for that is the way the Cardinal goes 
out to his palace across the square, and the pious 
Sevillians think an especial blessing will be their 
portion if they can intercept his passage and kiss 
his beautiful amethyst ring as he leaves the Cathedral 
after the Dance of the Seises in the Octave of the 
Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. 

The next time the boys dance is during the 
three days of Carnival, and if we ask why this very 
secular occasion be chosen, the archives of the 
Chapter give us the explanation. 

In 1682 there died in Seville one Don Francisco 
de Contreras de Chaves, Knight of the Order of 
Santiago, Gentleman of the King, Familiar of the 
Holy Order of the Inquisition, and one of the 
Veintecuatros (twenty-four), an order of nobility 
granted to Seville and Seville alone, in the thirteenth 
century. This distinguished individual was dis- 
tressed at the vain and worldly amusements in- 
dulged in during the Carnestolendas (the Latin 
carnis tollendus), which are the three days in which 
meat is eaten in preparation for the forty of ab- 
stinence beginning with Ash Wednesday ; and he 
fondly hoped that by introducing the Dance of the 
Seises into the Cathedral services of those three 
days, the tide of profane entertainment might be 


stemmed. So he willed that after his wife's death 
all his "large fortune" should be bestowed on "the 
triduum of Carnestolendas " in order that these days 
should be celebrated in the Cathedral with as much 
pomp and magnificence as the Conception and 
Corpus Christi. 

When his estate came to be cleared up it was 
found that thirteen thousand pesos escudos de plata 
(about 1260) were available for the purpose, and 
in testimony of gratitude to their generous bene- 
factor the Chapter ordered all the minor clergy and 
dependants of "the holy House" to attend his 
funeral, half of them bearing yellow candles and 
half white, while the bier was covered with the pall 
used at interments of prebendaries. Further, a 
requiem Mass was celebrated in the church of San 
Francisco (now the Town Hall) where the defunct 
Inquisitor was buried, and the Chapter attended 
this in copes and birettas, and the Cathedral 
musicians sang the Mass, which was recited by three 
dignitaries, the sermon being preached by a fourth. 

" In such wise," says a contemporary writer, 
"the Chapter did honour to Don Francisco de 
Contreras for having left all his fortune to improve 
the worship of God, from whom he will have received 
his reward." 

Don Francisco died the same year as Murillo, 
but we are not told that the Chapter bestowed any 
such funeral honours upon him. Presumably they 
thought that having paid for his pictures they had 
done their duty by the artist, although he had 
devoted his life to the service of religion, painted 


thirty- two pictures of the Conception, and turned 
his back upon worldly honours and rewards lest he 
should offend the Holy Office by producing works 
other than religious. 

The dresses provided for the Seises by the be- 
quest of Don Francisco are of the same style and 
materials as those worn for the Conception, but 
where the latter are blue the Carnival garb is red, 
and these red and white costumes are worn also 
at Corpus Christi, which takes place early in June. 
There is, however, a notable difference between this 
ceremony and the two former ones, for whereas they 
take place within the Cathedral, that procession of 
Corpus goes out with the Host into the streets, 
passes the Town Hall where all the rank and fashion 
of the town assemble to receive it, on stands erected 
for the occasion, and makes a long round through 
the heart of the oldest part of Seville before return- 
ing with its sacred burden to the Mother Church. 

The feast of Corpus Christi, although officially 
instituted in the thirteenth century, and probably 
a survival of one of those pagan ceremonies which 
the early Fathers, instead of quarrelling over, so 
wisely adapted to Christian worship, was not 
developed in its full splendour until 1613, and then 
the benefactor who endowed it was none other than 
that interesting historical character, Don Mateo 
Vazquez de Leca, Archdeacon of Seville, known in 
poetry and romance as " Don Juan." 

The only child of wealthy parents who died when 
he was yet a youth, he became a priest and was 
given a high place in the Chapter at the early age 


of twenty-three. It was not to be wondered at that, 
as a contemporary puts it, "as his age was short 
and his rents were long, his steps were not so well 
balanced as his ecclesiastical state demanded." His 
palatial mansion indeed was conducted on lines 
more befitting a plutocrat than a priest, and his 
licentious life was the scandal of the town. But 
when he was thirty " Heaven pleased to warn him 
of the peril he was in," by a miraculous interven- 
tion which has been erroneously attached to the 
name of Don Juan Maiiara, a contemporary of 
Murillo who gave much gold to the Hospital of the 
Caridad in Seville, and ordered " Here lies the worst 
man that ever lived," to be inscribed upon his tomb- 
stone in the church of the Hospital. Thanks to this 
exhibition of posthumous humility, the adventure 
of Don Mateo has been attributed by the romancists 
to Don Juan Maiiara, instead of to the real hero, 
the Archdeacon, who really was a far more pictur- 
esque personality. 

The year was 1600, the day that of the feast of 
Corpus Christi and we need have no fear of error 
in the date, for the event figures in the archives of 
the Chapter. Don Mateo, more intent upon his 
personal elegance than his holy office, arrayed 
himself for the occasion in a beautiful brocade under- 
dress, trusting that its brilliancy of silk and gold 
thread would gleam through the diaphanous silk of 
his soutane and the transparent lace of his rochet. 
For he had his mind and his eye fixed upon a 
mysterious lady whom he had observed of late 
among the congregation in the Cathedral, and he 


hoped his handsome face and richly clad figure 
might win her favour on this day of religious and 
secular cheer. All through the protracted ceremony 
in the Cathedral and the slow progress of the long 
procession, he contrived to keep her in view, and 
when at length he was free to divest himself of his 
ecclesiastical garb and go where he would, he found 
her waiting for him outside the sacred building, and 
immediately tried to address her. 

But the lady was very coy, notwithstanding her 
coquettish glances at the Archdeacon during the 
ceremony, and when he approached her she moved 
away so fast that he could not obtain even a glimpse 
of her face beneath the long black veil wrapped 
round her head and shoulders, nor could he overtake 
her although he followed her all through the centre of 
the town, into the Macarena and out round the city 
walls until she led him back again into the Cathedral. 

Within the building it was now twilight, for the 
whole afternoon had been consumed in the pursuit, 
and the lady flitted from chapel to chapel, and altar 
to altar, until at length she paused before that of 
Our Lady of the Old Time. Don Mateo trembled, 
for this image had always been his especial devotion. 
But the flesh after so many years of self-indulgence 
was too strong for the spirit. He clasped the lady 
in his arms, forgetful of the sacred spot on which 
he stood, and tore off her veil, intent on seeing the 
lovely features of the woman who had defied him 
so long. One word was breathed into his ear, like 
a sigh from another world. 

" ETERNITY ! " was the word he heard, and 


down the long empty aisles it seemed to float away, 
only to rise again and roll out louder louder until 
it sounded like thunder on the ears of the wretched 

And then with a horrible rattle of dry bones, 
the warm living body he held in his arms sank into 
a shapeless heap on the floor. That for which he 
had committed sacrilege was nothing but a withered 
and disintegrated skeleton. 

From that moment the Archdeacon led a new 
life, and in his deep repentance he became the most 
devout of all the priests in the Chapter. He left his 
magnificent mansion and moved to a mean house 
in the alley of Santa Marta, under the shadow of 
the Cathedral ; he devoted his whole fortune to 
pious and charitable uses ; and he endowed with 
large rents for ever the feast of Corpus Christi, 
because on that day God had seen fit to rescue him 
from his life of sin. He gave for the feast no less 
than an hundred silver candlesticks, hangings and 
canopy for the high altar, and silver altars to carry 
in the procession through the streets. He gave a 
complete set of white vestments to be used only on 
that day, for all the Chapter, the minor clergy, the 
singers, musicians, and servants of the altar, includ- 
ing of course the Seises. He gave altar-frontals for 
the portable altars, hangings for the pulpit and the 
Cathedral cross, curtains for the silver shrine, and 
rich draperies for the platform on which the shrine 
with the pyx within is carried through the town. 
And he endowed the preachers, bell-ringers, illum- 
inations, and procession in short, everything relating 


to the festival, not excepting the Guild of Our Lady 
of the Pomegranate, which maintains an altar in 
the Chapel of la Granada (pomegranate) under the 
Giralda, and still preserves the weighty poles on 
which until recent times they carried the platform 
with the shrine, in the genuine old Arabic fashion. 

From the earliest times the procession of Corpus 
Christi had been attended not only by the little 
Seises in their gala dress, but also by groups of men 
and women dancers similar in idea to the Giants and 
Bigheads which figure in the festival of Our Lady 
of the Pillar at Zaragoza, as described in Chapter 
XVII. These have now been suppressed for so 
long that few know what they once were, but I find 
a mention of the Giants in the year 1690, when the 
Civil Governor or Asistente, as he was then called, 
combined with the Archbishop, Don Jaime de Palafox, 
in a determined attempt to put down celebrations 
which they considered inconsistent with the dignity 
of the Church. 

They knew very well that if the public became 
aware beforehand of what was intended it would be 
impossible to carry out their scheme, so nothing 
was said until six o'clock in the morning of the 
festival. Then the announcement was made that 
no group of Dancers should enter the Cathedral on 
pain of a fine of one hundred ducats for the leader 
of any such party, and fifty ducats and four years' 
imprisonment for the bearer of any one of their 
banners. But the Archbishop and the Asistente 
reckoned without their host, for although the people, 
stupefied by this unexpected interference with their 


immemorial rights, remained quiet as if stunned by 
the blow, the lawyers of the Town Council (which 
provided funds for the "Dancers") went straight 
to the Court of Justice, and presently the Arch- 
bishop was informed that he had no legal status in 
the matter, that the "Dancers" were immediately 
to take their accustomed places in the procession 
within the Cathedral, and the ceremony was to pro- 
ceed in the usual order. 

The Archbishop, furious at his authority being 
disputed, ordered that if the Dancers entered the 
Cathedral the procession should be at once with- 
drawn, and the Host in its magnificent silver 
Custodia (a replica in miniature of that erected in 
the "Monument" during Holy Week) should be 
taken back to its own place. But now the priests, 
friars, and other ecclesiastics turned against him, 
saying that they had been invited by the Chapter 
to attend the carrying forth of the Host among the 
people, and they could not leave the Cathedral until 
this sacred duty had been fulfilled. 

Meanwhile the public, angry and disappointed, 
saddened by a quarrel over what they held sacred, 
and terrified lest the divine wrath should descend 
upon the city because the feast-day was not being 
honoured according to the ritual of their forefathers, 
collected in the Plaza de San Francisco, and 
clamoured for the procession to start, while the 
gentler and more timorous spirits knelt down all 
along the streets and prayed to God to remove the 
difficulties which had so suddenly and unexpectedly 


At long last the Archbishop withdrew, his place 
being taken by a lesser dignitary, and the procession 
came out of the Cathedral with the Dancers in their 
usual places, followed by the Brotherhood of the 
Tailors (of whom more anon), the Capuchins, Mer- 
cenaries, Augustines, and Carmelite friars, the 
Tribunal of the Inquisition, the canons, and the 
Asistente, who could not dissimulate his indigna- 
tion at the defeat of himself and the Archbishop, 
over which the whole town was rejoicing all along 
the route. 

Don Jaime de Palafox then appealed to the King 
and the Pope, but all he got was an order that 
women should be excluded from the Dances and that 
no masks or other disguises should be worn by the 
Dancers in the Cathedral, no attempt being made to 
put a stop to the dances themselves, because " this 
kind of festival had always continued in Seville." 
The Archbishop was charged neither to impede nor 
to embarrass the entry of the Dancers into the 
Cathedral, and he got a rap over the knuckles from 
the King for having tried " to introduce novelties." 

Don Jaime de Palafox was not the man to own 
himself beaten, and ten years later came the turn of 
the Seises. On June 18th of the year 1700 he got 
an order from the Pope to the Chapter to "suppress 
the abuse of the dances of the Seises," apparently 
thinking he would thereby put an end to that tradi- 
tional performance. The Dean, however, was as stout 
a fighter as Don Jaime himself. He represented to 
the Holy Father that the Hymn and the Dance of 
the Seises could not be fairly judged of by hearsay but 


must be seen to be understood, and he reminded the 
Pope that the first principle of the Council of Trent 
was that no judgment should be given in any 
dispute until both sides of the case had been heard. 
He stuck to his point until he obtained permission 
to take the Seises, costumes, castanets, and all, to 
Rome to dance before the Pope, and the final result 
was that the dance remained a recognised part of the 
ritual of the Cathedral of Seville, and has been 
performed at its appointed seasons without inter- 
mission ever since. 

Thus it survives to-day, to the pious delight of 
all good Sevillians. But, as said the chronicler of 
the attempt to suppress it, " Only he who sees it can 
comprehend it, and it is worth seeing. For it is 
performed with the greatest seriousness and com- 
posure, with the result that it is one of the most 
remarkable things in this Holy Church, very far 
removed from irreverence, but rather an example of 
an especial respect to the Lord." 

About a week before Noche Buena the Good 
Night which is Christmas Eve, the grocers' shops 
in Seville blossom out into still-life pictures, generally 
with a huge ship of wicker-work as the centre, having 
oars of Bologna sausages, a great ham as a sail, and 
a cargo of gold in the shape of oranges. Silver is 
represented by Tangerine oranges wrapped in lead 
paper, and vacant corners are filled up with a variety 
of sweetmeats, while the rigging consists of tinsel 
streamers. A banner of the national colours, of more 


or less expensive silk, flies of course over the whole, 
and this " flagship " is flanked by a squadron of lesser 
fry in every shape and form, but always of wicker- 
work. The whole fleet and its constituent parts are 
offered for sale at exaggerated prices, and the crew 
in every case consists of one or more bottles of wine. 

These baskets of provender are bought for 
Christmas gifts, and if we may judge from the 
absence of any special attractions in other shops, 
they are the most popular kind of present, except 
marzapan cakes. Of these the confectioners offer 
a considerable variety, the majority in the form of 
bulls or dragons, but some representing the beloved 
ham, which is so favourite an article of food, while 
some, but these are the minority, are made in pretty 
and artistic rounds, diamonds, or floral forms. All 
consist of the same rich almond paste, and all are 
adorned with preserved fruits and bonbons. Several 
varieties of a kind of nougat called turron also 
appear at Christmas and on two or three other great 
festivals, and some of them are delicious. 

The marzapan cakes, like the turron and the 
baskets of groceries, are all very expensive, which 
is not surprising in a country where even the locally 
made beetroot sugar is so heavily taxed that the 
consumer has to pay 70 centimes a pound for it. 
Thus the above dainties are only for the rich. The 
Christmas cake of the poor is called polvoron, and 
consists of a curious dry substance like extra short 
short-cake, made chiefly of almond flour, sugar, and 
white of egg. The Christmas polvoron is a large 
round cake, about half an inch thick, and it generally 


has a preserved orange in the middle, into which an 
artificial flower is stuck. It is always sold on a 
cardboard tray, because its consistency is such that 
it would otherwise fall to pieces of its own weight. 
Although it costs a mere trifle compared to the 
marzapan and turron eaten in well-to-do houses, it 
is nevertheless of excellent flavour. 

Indeed I doubt whether the workers do not 
prefer their polvoron to marzapan, if only because 
they get so much more of it for their money. It 
is customary to give a cake to your servants for 
Christmas, and I recollect that on one occasion, when 
talking over a projected kitchen-party with my cook, 
she politely gave me to understand that much as 
they had enjoyed the beautiful marzapan dragon of 
the previous Christmas, they would really prefer a 
polvoron this time, as the same expenditure on that 
class of cake would allow all their friends to cut and 
come again, instead of being limited to a mere 
mouthful, as had been the case with the five-dollar 
dragon of last year. 

Whatever be the cake you give to the menage, 
the best part of it will be set aside to offer to the 
master and mistress and their family. If it be a 
bull, the head and horns will be kept ; if a dragon, 
the head and tail ; and on the evening after the 
servants' party, when your dinner is over, the cook 
will hastily don a white apron and knot her best 
silk handkerchief round her head, and will march 
into the dining-room bearing the remains of the cake 
with all its inedible decorations carefully rearranged 
to hide what has gone. This she will courteously 


offer to every one at table, pressing them to taste and 
see how rich a dish the Senores have provided for 
the delectation of those in their employ. And as 
often as not some talented member of the household 
will stand at the door meanwhile, and sing at the 
top of his or her voice an improvised couplet setting 
forth the generosity and amiability of his employers. 

Of the actual giving of Christmas parties there 
is very little. Christmas trees are, of course, quite 
foreign to the soil, and I have never heard of a 
Christmas dance, outside of Madrid, save those 
given by foreign residents. But Christmas Eve is 
celebrated by high and low, and rich people at this 
time spend a good deal of money in what seems to 
us a singular and unpractical method of displaying 
their religious fervour. This consists in setting up 
a Nacimiento (Nativity), or representation of the 
birth of Christ, which is prepared in the private 
chapel of the house, if there is one, or in a principal 
reception-room, in as elaborate a form as the means 
of the family permit. 

Even the poorest try to procure something of 
the kind for their children, and the necessary figures 
for it are sold in the streets and in the shops for 
a week or so before the great day, at prices varying 
from one centime to hundreds of pesetas. I have 
bought the whole scene modelled in coarse crudely 
painted clay by the vendor, for a peseta. The 
stable of such a Nacimiento has three little walls 
and no roof, the Virgin and St. Joseph kneel on 
either side of the Babe, two tiny plumes of pampas 
grass and some cocks and hens represent the rural 


surroundings which these artists imagine to be ap- 
propriate, and, regardless of the Bible story, the 
beloved St. John as a grown man will be found some- 
where in the background. One cannot please a 
poor family more than by presenting them with a 
Nacimiento of this class. It will be set up in the 
place of honour on the chest of drawers, whose top 
is always devoted to their "saints" appallingly 
bad images, as a rule and family photographs ; 
while, if the exiguous wages permit, one or more 
candles will be lighted in front of the treasure every 
night until the "Day of the Kings," which is our 
Twelfth Night, a far greater festival to Spanish 
children than Christmas or New Year's Day. And 
the smallest infant is taught that no sacrilegious 
finger is to be laid on the sacred toy. 

The Nacimientos in rich houses are put up with 
an absolute disregard of cost (I remember seeing one 
of which a single figure cost 4), but the idea is 
the same a plastic representation of the Nativity. 
Here, however, it is made the occasion of a social 
function, and it is curious to read in the papers 
on Christmas Day how a magnificent Nacimiento 
was set up over-night in the gorgeous chapel of 
the splendid mansion of the Dukes of Mengano 
or the Counts of Fulano, and how, after the 
Reverend Bishop of this or the learned Canon of 
that had read the Office and delivered an inspired 
address, the whole family adjourned to the dining- 
room at 1 a.m. and were regaled with " a succulent 
lunch," which was "made the more agreeable by 
abundance of champdn." 



In this country the press reports of functions 
of this kind are not sparing in their adjectives. 
The accounts are paid for like any other advertise- 
ment, and the rich hosts of the " new " nobility 
like to have value for their money just as much 
as do the wealthy merchants and financiers. As 
for the old rural nobility, they are mostly too much 
reduced in fortune for display at Christmas or any 
other time, and if they are still well off, their tastes 
and traditions are averse from newspaper celebrity, 
so that reporters have little chance of getting inside 
their grave old houses, still less of obtaining fees 
for advertisements in the shape of adulatory 
narratives of their religious observances. 

In Seville all old customs still keep an extra- 
ordinary hold on the popular imagination. Of these 
one of the most curious is a religious ceremony 
called the " Cock's Mass " (Misa del Gallo\ which 
takes place on Christmas Eve. So strange is it and 
so archaic that at one time efforts were made to 
get the Pope to prohibit it; but the Franciscan 
Friars of the Monastery of San Buenaventura 
appealed to him in person ; permission was given 
for a commission of the Brothers to perform the 
Cock's Mass at the Vatican, and after hearing it for 
himself the Pope gave a special licence for its 
continuance in a slightly modified form. 

San Buenaventura is the church to go to on 
Christmas Eve in Seville if one would hear the 
Cock's Mass in its most refined form, with good 
singing and organ-playing ; but for real local colour 
and a passionate fervour which overflows all the 


bonds of self-restraint, we must find standing-room, 
if we can, in the little chapel of San Antonio Abad, 
in the street called Alfonso XIL, for this is the 
chosen resort of the poor, to whom their religion 
is as real as their daily bread. 

The Mass begins on the stroke of midnight, but 
hours before that the little church will be occupied 
by silent worshippers, who kneel on the floor 
praying, with their eyes fixed on the high altar. 
Here is displayed the Nativity, and prominent 
among the figures is a donkey, the pride and glory 
of the congregation, because it is the only life- 
sized model of the kind to be seen in any church 
in Seville. 

People drop in every minute or so to look at 
the Nacimiento, kneel for a short time in prayer, 
and then go out again to meet their friends and 
pass the time till the Mass begins. The streets are 
crowded, and every cafe and restaurant is full, for 
people go from one church to another to see the 
different Nacimientos, and few of them will get 
to bed before two or three in the morning ; so the 
system must be sustained with coffee and cakes, 
or wine and ham, or aguardiente and crab claws, 
or cold water and roasted chestnuts or acorns, 
according to personal taste and depth of purse. 

At midnight the Mass begins at San Antonio 
Abad with a clash of barbaric sounds, the small 
organ being reinforced by guitars, tambourines, 
castanets, triangles, and an Oriental instrument 
called a zambomba, which must be an inheritance 
from the most primitive times of Arabic music. 


This is made of coarse clay, and is in shape some- 
thing like a flower-pot, with a waist in the middle 
and with no bottom. The wider end is covered 
with a tightly stretched parchment, through which 
is thrust a thin piece of cane, tightly tied under- 
neath. The " music" is produced by wetting the 
hand and then rubbing the cane up and down, and 
the noise it makes is indescribable. If one can 
imagine a drum bellowing like a cow that has lost 
her calf, one would come somewhere near the sound 
of the zambomba : but it must be heard to be 
appreciated. The Andalucians love it, and if they 
can't afford to buy a zambomba for the Noche Buena 
they will make one of a flower pot with a wet cloth 
stretched over it instead of the skin a substitute 
which produces even weirder noises than the 
legitimate vessel. 

This instrument of torture is not now often 
to be heard in the churches, and it is to be feared 
that even in San Antonio Abad it will soon cease 
to delight the Christmas Eve congregation ; but 
when we first went to Seville it was still an essential 
part of the orchestra. 

The whole of the Cock's Mass is but a gradual 
leading up to the crowning act of the " Good Night" 
the presentation of the Babe to be kissed by the 
worshippers. In most of the churches this is a 
solemn ceremony, and one feels how intensely in 
earnest are those who file past the altar steps to 
kneel before the image of the infant Saviour. The 
blazing lights that surround the image, the gorgeous 
vestments of the prie&ts, the dim light of the side 


aisles whence the veiled worshippers glide out, kneel 
to kiss the foot of the little figure, and then dis- 
appear into the darkness again, all this combines 
to make the Cock's Mass in many of the churches 
a picturesque and emotional spectacle. In such 
churches there is only the organ, or perhaps a string 
band, and there is nothing archaic in the traditional 
Cock's Mass save the name. 

But in San Antonio Abad and other minor 
churches frequented mainly if not entirely by the 
poor, the Mass has quite another character. 

In some of these the music begins as early as 
eleven, soft and low at first, and gradually increasing 
in tone and cheerfulness as time goes on and the 
church fills more and more. And the spirits of the 
people rise with the music, until some piece with a 
strongly marked rhythm strikes up, and the congre- 
gation seem to lose their heads altogether. They 
sway from side to side, keep time with their heads 
and hands, and finally break into step with their 
feet, completely carried away by excitement as the 
" Good Night " draws nearer and nearer to its 

They recover themselves when the bell rings for 
the elevation of the Host, and all kneel down, 
although they are so tightly packed that it is a 
gymnastic feat to get up again. There is a pause, 
as if they were taking breath, during the Benedic- 
tion, and then, as the head priest takes his seat 
on the altar steps with the image of the Infant 
on his knee, the music bursts out again, organ, 
guitars, tambourines, zambombas, in a triumphant 


medley of sound without any particular form or 
rhythm, and the whole crowd moves simultaneously 
towards the Nativity, one step at a time, without 
the least pushing or shoving, but all resolved to 
adore their Christ, to see and touch " The Child " 
who is also "The Lord." 

It means a good deal to some of them : nothing 
less, indeed, than an augury for good or ill for the 
year to come. I heard one woman in the crowd tell 
another as they left the church one Christmas Eve 
that she would have good fortune now, for El Nino 
had looked up at her and smiled as she knelt to 
worship Him : and her naive confidence in the happy 
omen explained much that would otherwise have 
puzzled me in the demeanour of the crowd during 
the Cock's Mass. 



The Columbus country The way to Moguer A rickety bridge 
An historical family Blue eyes and honourable hearts 
Fifteenth-century iron work Martin Alonso Pinzdn, the 
friend of Columbus His history as told by his descendant 
Palos de la Frontera The castle of the Pinzons The 
church of St. George The Virgin of Columbus The 
bridegroom's door La Rabida : what it is and what it 
might be. 

FEBRUARY in southern Spain is already spring as a 
rule, but I visited the Columbus country in 1912, 
and in that unusual year the winter ran on well into 
the middle of February, a month which generally 
carpets the fields with blue iris, golden buttercups, 
and scarlet poppies. So my trip to Moguer, Palos 
de la Frontera, and La Kabida may come under the 
heading of Winter Sketches, and perhaps my readers 
will like to know that it is possible to explore these 
remote villages even in showery weather. 

I started with the intention of doing a few days' 
digging in a buried town on the banks of the Rio 
Tinto, on my way to the Tharsis copper mines, 
away up in the Sierra de Huelva, where I was going 
to see a little museum of objects found by the Com- 
pany in their various shafts. But the weather, 
perfect when I left Seville, changed in the night, 

and I woke next morning to see a downpour of rain 



which put excavations out of the question the 
more so because to reach my site I had to cross the 
Rio Tinto by a ford which is impassable after rain. 
So I left my jamugas and tools in the charge of 
the amiable landlady of the uncomfortable rooms I 
had been compelled to engage because there was no 
other within many miles of the ruins, and went on 
to Moguer, furnished with an introduction to the 
family of Pinzon, lineal descendants of Martin 
Alonso Pinzon, who with his two brothers accom- 
panied Columbus on his epoch-making voyage from 
Palos de la Frontera to the Bahamas. 

I left the train in a heavy shower at the 
wretched little station of San Juan del Puerto, a 
poverty-stricken village lying on the mud-flats of 
the Rio Tinto near its junction with the Odiel. This 
is the nearest station to Moguer, and people who 
want to see the district, which is very pretty as well 
as full of historical interest, should not be misled by 
the guide-books into taking any other route to La 
Rabida, for reasons which I will presently explain. 

Moguer is only about a mile and a half from the 
station, and a diligence meets every train. It is 
true that it is not a luxurious conveyance, and 
sometimes if one does not rush to secure a seat one 
may find oneself left behind. So unless the trip is 
a sudden thought, as mine was, it is well to write 
to 'the landlady of the Fonda Almirante Pinzon at 
Moguer, and she will not only send a carriage to the 
station, but reserve one of her few bedrooms for you, 
and add an extra dish to her simple dinner in view 
of your arrival. It is always advisable, when 


possible, to give notice of your coming to modest 
little hostelries like this. 

The diligence was not crowded the day I first 
went to Moguer. In fact it contained, besides my- 
self, only an old doctor and his young wife, and the 
village idiot from San Juan, who rode on the step 
outside until he realised that nothing was to be got 
out of the doctor or me by his whines, and then he 
dropped off and strolled back in the rain to his own 

Not far out of San Juan there is a long low 
wooden bridge on trestles across the Rio Tinto, 
which here is very wide. It creaked and groaned a 
good deal as we crossed it, and the doctor remarked 
that it had been condemned long ago as unsafe by 
the Inspector of Roads, and every time he crossed it 
he wondered whether it would hold up till he got to 
the other side. 

" Oh, Cayetano ! How can you say so, when we 
have to return by the same road to-morrow ! " 
shrieked his wife. 

I looked at the turbid yellow water, already 
swollen with the rain. A bath in it would be highly 
unpleasant, even if it were nothing worse than a 
bath. But we got safely across, and rattled up a 
gentle rise into the pretty little town, where at 
every turn one meets reminders of the wealth and 
splendour that it enjoyed in the sixteenth century, 
when the gold that poured in from America enriched 
every one connected with those who adventured in 
the New World. 

The Fonda del Almirante Pinzon is established 


on the ground floor of the house belonging to the 
Admiral's grandson, and when I was there the 
family, reduced in means like so many of the old 
nobility, were living on the floor above. Ever since 
the great days of their voyages with Columbus the 
head of the Pinzons has been a sailor, and the 
Admiral whose name is given to the hotel dis- 
tinguished himself in the Peninsular War, and quite 
recently a cruiser was sent to convey his remains to 
the national pantheon of illustrious mariners at San 
Fernando. And his son upheld and his grandson still 
upholds the traditions of a family which Charles v. 
honoured with a grant of nobility, and the same 
arms as those given to Columbus himself the three 
historic caravels and the motto 

" A Castillo, y d Leon 
Nuevo mundo did Pinz6n." 

(To Castile and to Leon 

A new world was given by Pinz6n.) 

But the proudest boast of the Pinzons, who 
were wealthy when their great ancestor first set 
sail for the unknown west, is that they have 
never soiled their hands with ill-gotten gains, and 
that one Admiral Pinzon after another has held 
high posts under Government and has left office 
no richer than when he entered it. Honesty such 
as this, in a country where politics and office are 
universally regarded as a short road to a fortune, 
argues a standard of morality as lofty as it is rare. 
Sigismund Moret, the Liberal statesman who was 
three times intrigued out of the Premiership because 


he would not buy party support, died a poor man, 
and all the Spanish press united to proclaim the 
fact as the highest honour they could pay him. As 
yet it is vain to hope for the honest administration 
of public money, but we must trust that in the 
long-run the example of the Pinzons and the Morets 
and their like will prevail. For it is one of the 
tragedies of Spain that her natural wealth, mineral 
and agricultural, is immense, and she only needs 
honest and common-sense administration to become 
one of the richest, instead of the poorest country in 

This digression is excusable because in the 
Columbus country you meet the Pinzons at every 
turn, and it is they and their like who some day 
will leaven the lump. It is usual to say that Spain 
will never rise because the dead weight of egoism 
and self-seeking lying on the top of the good dough 
underneath will prevent any sound morality from 
getting to the top. But qui vivra verra. I, 
personally, believe that cracks are spreading in 
the crust of administrative selfishness, and I hope 
before I die to see some such awakening here as 
took place in my own country when I was young, 
and English society suddenly began to realise that 
it had not fulfilled its whole duty to the poor by 
giving them blankets and beef-tea. 

The little fonda with its grand name is not a 
place one wants to stay long at, for although clean 
the beds are somewhat hard, and the food is such 
as might be expected for five pesetas a day tout 
compris. But in the modest patio there is a 


large painting of the Virgin of Montemayor which 
belonged to the Admiral and his forbears. And in 
the simply furnished dining-room there is a beautiful 
wrought-iron well-head dating from the fifteenth 
century, in style and design identical with the 
pulpit in the little church of Palos de la Frontera, 
whence was read the decree of Isabel the Catholic 
calling on her lieges of the port to man and furnish 
the ships Santa Maria and Nina for the expedition 
into the unknown. These ships, according to the 
Pinzons, were the property of Martin Alonso Pinzon 
and his brothers, although in the lawsuit brought 
many years after by Diego, the son of Columbus, 
against the State a different account was given. 
The papers relating to that long quarrel have been 
the basis for much of what has been written about 
Columbus' first expedition, so if my readers find 
the family traditions widely varying from popular 
histories of the period, they must remember that 
the Pinzon point of view naturally differs from that 
of the other side in an unhappy lawsuit, and they 
may choose for themselves which story they will 

The day after my arrival at Moguer was bright 
and sunny, and the Senora de Pinzon, after studying 
my credentials, allowed her young daughter Conchita 
(otherwise Maria de la Concepcion) to join me in 
my expedition to La Rabida. This was really a 
great favour, for Spanish mothers never like to let 
their girls out of their sight until they are safely 
married. But Conchita had been educated by the 
Irish nuns of the Loretto at Gibraltar, and the 


Senora could not resist her appeal to be allowed to 
spend the day with me to practise her English, 
which she said she was afraid of forgetting. It 
seemed to make the dry bones of history curiously 
alive to go over the ground with that bright young 
creature and hear her continual references to " my 
ancestor Martin Alonso " as we drove along a pretty 
lane to the famous Palos, greeted by every man, 
woman, and child we met with a cordiality which 
showed in what esteem the family are held here. 

" We never were very rich," said Conchita, 
" although our vineyards and olive orchards formerly 
brought in a good deal more than they do now, so 
it was not our money that made my family popular 
here. No, it is what my ancestor did for Spain 
that is never forgotten. You see he lived here all 
his life, while Columbus was only a foreign visitor, 
who came to find ships and went away again. It 
is no wonder that the people remember my ancestor 
better than him." 

The intense pride of my little friend in her 
family history shone through every word she spoke. 
She expressed it more openly, perhaps, than an 
English girl would have done in her place, but I 
am bound to say I cordially sympathised with her. 
I am proud enough of my own ancestors, whose 
deeds made but the faintest mark on the history of 
their time. If they had helped to discover America 
there would have been no holding me ! 

Palos, the once famous port about half-way 
between La Rabida and Moguer, now lies high and 
dry, with a strip of pasturage between the village 


and the estuary. Even the little caravels of 1483 
could now not anchor anywhere near the ruined 
castle, and the whole place seems to sleep away 
the days, resting on its fame in the past. 

"The castle belonged to my ancestor," said 
Conchita, pointing out a ruined wall on a slight 
eminence behind the little church. " There was 
only a tower left when Columbus came, and my 
ancestor's residence was at Moguer. But the 
Pinzons kept their vessels here, and it was here 
that Columbus came to look for Martin Alonso and 
talk to him about the voyage he wanted to make. 
He had made Martin Alonso's acquaintance in Kome, 
where they were both studying navigation. You 
know it was a favourite study in those days with 
rich men who loved the sea. How ridiculous it is 
to say that Columbus came here by chance ! You 
see what an out-of-the-way place it is. And if he 
had wanted to get to Huelva to visit his brother-in- 
law, as Washington Irving says, he would have been 
a fool to go to La Kabida, to which there is no 
road at all except this, while Huelva was on the 
main road. It says in our family papers that 
Columbus came to look for his friend Martin Alonso 
Pinzon and discuss with him plans for the voyage, 
and Martin Alonso went with him to La Kabida. 
The story of his asking for food and drink at La 
Rabida is silly. As if my ancestor would have let 
him leave his house without giving him and his 
child a good dinner ! It makes me angry to see 
that absurd picture at La Eabida of the porter 
giving bread and water to his little boy. It is 


quite modern and not at all well painted, I am glad 
to say!" 

We had climbed up to investigate the ruined 
wall, melancholy relic of the strong fortress that 
gave Palos its importance as a frontier town (de la 
frontera) during the civil war between Moslems 
and Mozarabs in the ninth century, when all this 
district was in the hands of descendants of King 
Witiza, the last legitimate monarch of the Goths, 
whom for twenty-five years the Sultans of Cordova 
sought in vain to dislodge. From this eminence I 
could see that, before it silted up, the little harbour 
of Palos would have been a safe and convenient 
shelter from the west winds sweeping up the broad 

" Two of the ships belonged to the Pinzons," said 
Conchita, " but the family were out of favour with 
the Catholic Kings we have never found out why 
and they could not lend them to Columbus without 
asking leave of the Queen, who had put an embargo 
on them by way of punishment for some unknown 
offence. When Columbus and my ancestor had well 
talked over the proposed adventure, they went to 
La Kabida to ask the Prior, Juan Perez de Mar- 
chena, to use his influence with Isabella to remove 
the embargo, so that Martin Alonso and his brothers 
might lend Columbus their ships. The Pinzons 
could not go to the Court themselves, because they 
were in disgrace. I wish we knew why. The family 
papers tell us nothing, and there is only a vague 
tradition that it was something to do with religion. 
I cannot imagine what it could be, for the Pinzons 


have always been good Catholics, and they had not 
long before restored or rebuilt part of this church, 
which as you see is very old indeed." 

While we talked we were sitting on a bench in 
the little church of St. George. On our left was the 
wrought-iron pulpit whence the call for volunteers 
was read ; on the right was the ancient image of 
the Virgin which local tradition claims as the one 
which Columbus took with him on board the Santa 

It is by no means improbable that local tradition 
is correct, for the image is medieval, and as such 
would have been the object of special adoration by 
the people of Palos then as now. Thus Martin 
Alonso Pinzon, the lord of Palos, could do no 
greater honour to his friend Columbus, and find no 
surer way to calm the fears of the families of their 
crews, than by taking this venerated image as the 
patroness of the expedition. The ships were bound 
to come safe home again, the people of Palos would 
say, having their beloved Virgin on board. 

Traditions about the patron image of a town do 
not grow up spontaneously, although as the centuries 
go by the original story becomes adorned and over- 
laid with the additions made to it by one generation 
after another. Without some foundation in fact, it 
is most unlikely that the statement that this was 
the image in question should have been made and 
accepted, and thenceforth handed on as a tradition 
by the people of Palos. Little was seen of Columbus 
at Palos after his return from his first voyage. The 
Pinzons attribute this to the early death of Martin 


Alonso, said by historians to be due to his disappoint- 
ment that Columbus should have obtained more 
honour and rewards than himself after his " base 
desertion" of the Admiral at Cuba. The family 
naturally ignore, if indeed they are not now ignorant 
of, all that was alleged against their ancestor in the 
lawsuit of Diego Colon. For them Martin Alonso' s 
death was brought about by the hardships he suffered 
and the illness he contracted when through stress of 
weather his ship was separated from that of Colum- 
bus, whom he never saw again until both the great 
navigators returned to Palos, one in the morning 
and the other in the evening of 15th March 1493, 
seven months and a half after they had left the 
little port together. Be this as it may, it must be 
admitted that Pinzdn and his brothers played an 
important part in the discovery of the New World, 
and that it was their great misfortune to be under a 
cloud at Court when favours and rewards were being 
showered upon the man whom they had so materially 
aided at the outset. 

Perhaps if I had visited Palos with a descendant 
of Columbus instead of a daughter of the other 
house, the part played by Pinzon would assume 
smaller proportions in my retrospect of that far-off 
time. But as things were, I felt as if I had got the 
story from the very actors themselves, and I could 
no more doubt that this was indeed the patron 
image which watched over the adventurers from the 
chapel set up on the Santa Maria by her owner, 
Martin Alonso Pinzon, when he handed his ship 
over to Columbus as commander of the " fleet," than 


I could doubt that Martin Alonso was more sinned 
against than sinning in the reports that were spread 
of his disappearance on the coast of Cuba. 

And when Conchita took me out round the west 
end and down a flight of steps to the north door of 
the church, which is decorated with red and white 
brickwork of the style called " Mozarabic," and told 
me that it was known as the " Door of the Bride- 
grooms " when the Pinzons lived at the castle, and 
was only opened to admit the eldest son of the family 
on his wedding-day, I found myself quite able to 
accept her statement, regardless of various inherent 
improbabilities which afterwards suggested them- 

Having thoroughly taken in the beauty and the 
tradition of this architectural gem, with its fortress- 
like outer walls, its strangely dwarfed nave, and its 
lofty Gothic transepts, we resumed our triumphal 
progress along the road travelled by Columbus four 
hundred and twenty-eight years before I say trium- 
phal advisedly, for all down the one narrow ill-paved 
street of Palos, Conchita was bowing and smiling 
like a young princess at the people who ran out to 
greet her when they caught the sound of our ap- 
proaching wheels. One understood that not many 
carriages drive through the village nowadays, but 
mere curiosity would not account for the cordiality 
of her reception. 

From Palos to La Kabida the road is good and 
well kept, and at one point it is really very pretty, 
winding through a pine wood, between the trees of 
which we see the Arabic Tapia of the monastery 


walls gleaming rosy pink in the afternoon sun on 
their eminence above the estuary. 

The inherent lack of common sense which char- 
acterises all Spanish administration is exemplified 
by the very existence of this road. In 1893 the 
fourth centenary of the discovery of America was 
marked by a tremendous celebration organised by 
what is called the Columbian Society of Huelva. 
The monastery was proclaimed a " national monu- 
ment," which means that its upkeep is henceforth a 
national charge, and no further voluntary effort to 
preserve it will ever be made, or even expected. An 
overpowering column with a statue of Columbus on 
top was set up at a cost, I have been told, of 80,000 
pesetas (3200) a large sum to be raised by sub- 
scription in Spain which was designed and erected 
by the architect to the Government. A landing- 
stage was built on the bank of the estuary for 
holiday-makers coming from Huelva, and a broad 
road, wide enough for half a dozen carriages to drive 
abreast, was made from the landing-stage up to the 
monastery, and carried on thence to join the road to 
Palos, as I have said. Extensive repairs and restora- 
tions were begun in the building, and the slopes 
round it were laid out as gardens, which were to be 
a glory of indigenous and American flowers and 
foliage as well they might in a climate where 
everything grows at such a rate that the blossoming 
of Aaron's rod would hardly be a miracle here. 

But alas ! the great column, ludicrously out of 
place alongside of the monastery walls, all weathered 
and mellowed by time, has never been finished ; and 


worse than that, it was jerry built with what may 
have been left, after the celebration was concluded, of 
the 80,000 pesetas subscribed by a confiding public, 
and now, twenty-one years after the first stone was 
laid, this national monument to Spain's greatest hero 
is surrounded by a rough paling labelled in large 
letters Peligro (Danger), and one passes it hastily 
by, wondering whether the statue of Columbus will 
fall on one's innocent head from the lofty height 
which makes its details indiscernible. 

A peal at the monastery door the door by 
which Columbus entered brings forth an unshaven 
porter, who turns one loose to wander at will in the 
empty cloisters, but reappears in search of his 
pourboire when he hears one's steps returning. No 
photographs or even picture post-cards are to be 
obtained here, no printed papers or books relating 
to the building, there are no seats to be found in 
the whole of the monastery save some tiled recesses 
in the chapel walls all is empty and desolate, with 
the unmistakable air of a place seldom visited and 
quickly left. 

The broad new road down to the water serves 
no possible purpose, for no conveyance of any kind 
can be procured nearer than Moguer, and for visitors 
with time and energy to make the journey there on 
foot a path from the landing-stage to Palos would 
have served every purpose. A forlorn rowing-boat 
was moored to the steps where we went down, but 
its owner could not be found. It was kept there, 
our coachman told us, in case any one wanted to 
row to Huelva, several miles away up the mouth of 


the Odiel. "But," he added scornfully, "who 
wants to row to Huelva when they have come in 
a carriage from Moguer ? " 

La Rabida is a monument of misspent public 
money. I was told that in summer people make 
up water parties from Huelva, but they must all 
bring their own refreshments, for not so much as 
a cup of coffee can be got at the monastery. One 
thought what a Mecca for Americans, and indeed 
for all other pilgrims, this spot could be made, 
were it in hands more appreciative and more 
sensible than those of the Spanish bureaucracy. 
One pictured a gay little hotel down below, far 
enough removed from the monastery not to jar on 
its old-world peace, but near enough to offer com- 
fort and convenience to the pilgrim, whether he 
came by land or sea. One provided the sunny 
refectory, now empty save for those inferior fancy 
pictures of Columbus which annoyed Conchita 
Pinzon, with a library of books dealing with the 
history of the place and of the voyages of Columbus 
and his companions ; one saw the friars' cells, now 
closed and smelling of shut windows, furnished and 
available for students to live and work in ; and 
one installed a service of motors from Seville and 
Huelva to the landing-stage, so that every tourist 
who came to Seville might take a day's run to 
Moguer, Palos, and La Rabida, as a necessary part 
of his Andalucian trip. 

But alas ! a heavy shower woke me from my 
dream of what ought to be in this lovely corner of 
a lovely land. The sky had darkened while we 



The Convento de la Luz The Poor Clares and the Conceptionists 
Our Lady of Montemayor A fortified religions house 
The ribats of Spain The ancient refectory Arabic in- 
scriptions in the Nun's Chapel The Portocarreros Family 
tombs A night at San Juan The shyness of the nun 
An early start Mossen Bethancourt and the Canary Isles 
The beginning of the floods. 

" You who are so interested in everything old 
should not leave Moguer without seeing the Con- 
vento de la Luz" said Conchita as we drove back 
from La Rabida. " I will take you there to-morrow 
morning if you like, before you start for the train. 
Formerly no one except the clergy could enter any 
part of the convent, for it belonged to the Poor 
Clares, and you know how rigidly closed the Order 
is. But now they are all dead, and the convent 
has been sold or let or lent by the Duke of Alba to 
the Conceptionists the teaching branch, not the 
closed one and the Reverend Mother lets me take 
in visitors at any time. All the aristocracy of 
Moguer send their daughters to be educated there, 
and they have free classes for the poor as well. It 
enlivens our circle having the Conceptionist nuns 
there instead of the Poor Clares." 

She went on to tell me that the convent had 
become hopelessly impoverished, though it was 



once one of the wealthiest in the district. The 
Clares seem to have lived like private ladies, each 
with her little suite of rooms, bedroom, sitting-room, 
and kitchen, and even her own share of the walled 
garden. Each had her own woman servant, who 
lived not in the convent but in the town, coming 
in and out daily to attend to her mistress's wants. 
Anything less like the accepted idea of monastic life 
I never heard of ; and when I saw the bright sunny 
little flats partitioned off by the nuns for their 
private convenience, I wondered still more how such 
a conception of asceticism could have lasted down 
to the end of the first decade of the twentieth 

"Reverend Mother says," pursued Conchita, 
" that the one Poor Clare who still lived when the 
Archbishop of Seville sanctioned the transfer to the 
Conceptionists, was the tiniest creature she ever 
saw, quite imbecile from age, and withered and 
shrunk up just like a doll. They had been gradually 
dying off one by one, until this little old woman 
was the only inhabitant of the convent, which is so 
large that it contains a dormitory a hundred feet 
long, while the central patio is a hundred feet square. 
There are many beautiful objects of art there even 
now, and they say that formerly it was a perfect 
treasure-house. No one knows when it was built, 
but the Pinzons' ancestors, the Portocarreros, whose 
monuments you will see there, were very rich, and 
they always protected the convent. What date was 
that? Oh, I don't know, but it was before the 
discovery of America ; and of course after that, 


when everybody grew rich, the convent got more 
gifts than ever. But you can fancy what went on 
in later years, when the Poor Clares were getting 
older and more helpless every day, and more 
dependent on their servants. They say that those 
women never went in without securing some 
valuable work of art to carry off and sell, though 
where they sold them no one knows, for they were 
never offered in Moguer. Of course not ! No one 
here would buy valuables robbed from the nuns. 
Well, that is all over now, and no one will steal 
what is left. The Conceptionists are not poor at 
all (though of course they always want money for 
their free classes) and they take great care of the 
pictures and tiles, and everything else that those 
bad servants could not carry away." 

Truth to tell, I did not expect to find much that 
would interest me in the Convento de la Luz, 
imagining from Conchita's account that it would 
be a fifteenth-century building of the type so 
frequently found in this part of Spain. The wealthy 
and powerful families of Arcos and Medina Sidonia 
set the fashion at that time of lavishing their riches 
on building and restoring convents and monasteries, 
and of course every great noble with plenty of 
money followed their example. Too often the gold 
which poured into Andalucia after the discovery 
of America was spent on barbaric display of carved 
and gilded woodwork, chased silver, and costly 
draperies, more conspicuous for their money value 
than for their beauty : and I confess that I rather 
disliked the idea of spending a couple of my few 


hours at Moguer in visiting such a monument, when 
I might have driven out to the hermitage of Our 
Lady of Montemayor. For Our Lady of Monte- 
mayor had been worshipped as far back as the 
ninth century, when Palos de la Frontera was an 
outpost of the Spanish Christians, who, although 
they forgot their language during the many centuries 
of Moslem rule, steadily maintained their religious 

But it was impossible to refuse the invitation 
of my kind and courteous little friend, and I agreed 
to go with her to the convent next morning instead 
of making an expedition into the country. 

What then was my delight at finding in the 
Convento de la Luz an almost perfect survival of 
the fortified religious houses which the Moslems 
called ribats outposts built to defend the frontier, 
and garrisoned by men of a semi-religious order, 
sworn to this particular form of military service. 
Whether the Order was originally instituted in 
Andalucia by the Christians (Mozarabs) who re- 
mained in occupation of their lands and castles when 
Spain was conquered by the Mohammedans, no one 
seems to know, though the existence of La Kabida 
itself, and of various other places bearing the same 
name, in which Mozarabic remains are seen, suggests 
that ribats were established here long before the 
Almoravides founded their empire over Morocco and 
Spain, in a ribat on the river Niger in the first 
half of the twelfth century. 

Be that as it may, I saw at once that the 
Convento de la Luz was built for such a fortress, 


while the church with its massive walls and but- 
tressed ramparts could never have been intended 
for other than Christian worship. 

So much for the outside. The only break in 
the enclosing walls is where an opening has been 
made to give easier access from the street. One 
sees that formerly the nuns had to come out and 
cross a courtyard to speak with callers at the gate, 
and one can understand that this would hardly 
suit the comfort-loving old ladies who were the last 
of this branch of their Order. 

A Sister opened a heavy door giving on a cloister 
which borders all four sides of the great central 
court, and led us through an archway six feet deep 
into a large hall. This was the refectory in the 
days when a hundred Poor Clares occupied the con- 
vent, but now it is the nuns' reception-room, and 
here the mothers of pupils, rich and poor, sit and 
discuss with the Superior and the heads of the classes 
the tastes, talents, and idiosyncrasies of their girls. 

It is a very lofty, chapel-like hall, whose vaulted 
roof would suggest a thirteenth-century architect, 
but for the tiny windows, placed so high up that 
one sees that the first thought of the builder was 
security against attack. And we know that after 
1257, when this district was conquered by Alfonso x., 
there was no need to build fortified religious houses. 
We sat on brick benches left in the thickness 
of the wall and faced with iridescent tiles of the 
rich green colour introduced by the Arabs out 
of compliment to Mahomet's banner ; and as I 
watched a ray of sun from one of those lofty 


windows lighting up the gilded halos in a fifteenth- 
century painting of the Last Supper, I wished the 
walls could speak and tell us the true history of 
the convent. Even the origin of its name is lost. 
The townspeople call it de la Luz, but they do not 
know why, and the earliest mention of it in 
Andalucian history, which is in 1349, describes it 
as " The convent of Santa Clara at Moguer." 

More than one of the earliest crucifixes existent 
in Andalucia is known as " Nuestro Senor Cristo de 
la luz " (Our Lord Christ of light), and such works 
of art, be it remembered, are necessarily Mozarabic, 
because the Mozarabs were the only Christians in 
this part of Spain previous to 1248. There is a 
fine one in the Nuns' Chapel of this convent, the 
advocation of which has been forgotten. Perhaps 
the last little Poor Clare, had she not been in her 
dotage when the convent was taken over by its 
present occupants, could have told them that this 
was " Our Lord of Light," whose prototype had 
been worshipped here for about a thousand years. 

This may seem a bold statement to those who 
suppose that the Christians suffered persecution 
during the rule of Islam in Spain. But recent 
research has proved that so far from this being 
the case, the Christians as a rule were treated with 
kindness and consideration, as long as they refrained 
from showing open disrespect for the alien religion. 
And here in Moguer is the material corroboration 
of conclusions deduced from scattered references 
to the condition of the Mozarabs which are found 
in the writings of the time, both Arabic and 


Christian. For the walls of the Nuns' Chapel 
(screened off by a stone grille with Arabic tracery 
from the church restored by the Portocarreros) are 
lined with ancient wooden choir stalls, on each arm 
of which is carved a lion's head and an Arabic 
inscription in Kufic characters of the style used in 
Cordova in the tenth century. These certainly were 
not placed here after 1257, at which date the 
African character was in use all over Moslem Spain, 
and as certainly such stalls never were used in 
Moslem worship. 

It was interesting to retrace the course of history 
from that time to this. Here was the evidence 
of the upholding of their faith by the native 
Christians for century after century, during the 
whole of which they were practically cut off from 
Rome and isolated from their co-religionists else- 
where. A painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe, 
surrounded by worshippers in thirteenth-century 
costumes, seemed to bring us into direct contact 
with the period when Andalucia was conquered by 
San Fernando of Castile, and her " few remaining 
loyal priests" were confirmed in their houses and 
offices by that wise monarch. In the church were 
life-size alabaster effigies of the noble family of 
Portocarrero, nine men and women in fifteenth- 
century dress, at the foot of the high altar. Burial 
in that sacred spot was the privilege granted to 
Don Pedro Portocarrero, Lord of Moguer, his wife 
Dona Elvira Alvarez, and their heirs for ever, in 
acknowledgment by a grateful Church of their bene- 
factions to the convent of Santa Clara and the 


monastery of San Francisco, which last com- 
paratively modern edifice is now falling into ruin 
in the shadow of the imperishable walls of the 
Mozarabic foundation. Above us hung a lamp 
made of silver brought from the New World by 
Martin Alonso Pinzon, although his tomb, as 
Conchita regretfully admitted, is not to be found 
here. And by my side was the young daughter 
of those ancient houses, who proudly told me that 
she too inherited the right to be buried at the foot 
of the high altar when her time came. 

Truly this Columbus country has more than 
ordinary interest for the traveller in Spain, and 
as I remarked at the beginning of my attempt to 
describe it, it is a pity to be misled by the guide- 
books into visiting La Rabida by boat from Huelva 
instead of by diligence from San Juan del Puerto. 
Because, in the first place, if the weather be bad you 
cannot get to La Rabida by water at all, and, in 
in any case, as the estuary there is very wide and 
much exposed to wind and to the Atlantic waves, 
a trip of two hours each way is apt to be unpleasant 
to all except first-rate sailors. And because, in the 
second place, even though you are a good sailor 
and get to La Rabida in ideal weather, you will 
certainly not have time to go on to Palos and 
Moguer and get back to Huelva before nightfall, 
since you will have no option but to walk from 
La Rabida. And, as I hope I have shown, Palos 
and Moguer have attractions for the artist and the 
archaeologist, as well as for the pilgrim to the shrine 
of Columbus. 


For my own part, although I was obliged to 
catch the afternoon train from San Juan in order to 
go on to the mines of Tharsis on the day that 
Conchita first introduced me to the Convent de la 
Luz, I shamelessly threw over all my other engage- 
ments on the return journey, and went straight 
back to Moguer. 

Not quite straight back, though, come to think 
of it, for the diligence was crowded when I reached 
San Juan, and as it was impossible to get any other 
conveyance, or even a donkey to ride, I had to spend 
the night there, since it was pouring with rain and 
I dared not attempt the walk to Moguer in the 
dark, through mud up to my ankles. 

The only room I could get was at the one inn in 
the place, an establishment consisting of two rooms 
and my bedroom, which opened off the kitchen. It 
literally opened off it, for the door had no kind of 
fastening, and the landlady's niece put a chair 
against it on the outside, as the only means of 
preventing my toilet operations being performed in 
public. The whole place was streaming with damp, 
and flood-marks were plainly to be seen on the 
walls of my bedroom. There was no food to be 
had except puchero, and the landlady was quite 
grateful when I told her I could dine off the remains 
of the excellent lunch provided by my hosts at 
Tharsis, for she had no one to send out for supplies. 

The poor little place was clean, the people 
inspired me with such confidence that the keyless 
door did not trouble me in the least, and I slept 
from the time I went to bed till 6 a.m. Then I got 


up and dressed by the light of a candle, for the 
diligence was to start at seven, and I intended to 
walk on and cross the trestle bridge before it picked 
me up. Heavy rains had swollen the rivers every- 
where, and I reflected with dismay on the remarks 
of my travelling companion on the condition of that 
bridge when we drove over it the week before. 

It was still almost dark when I left the village 
behind me, and through the gloom a blazing wood 
fire shone invitingly alongside of the railway line, 
from the cottage of a family in charge of the level 
crossing. The wife ran out and begged me to come 
in and warm myself, full of wonder and commisera- 
tion at the hard fate whatever it might be that 
compelled a senora de edad ("a lady advanced in 
years") to take the road on foot so early in the 

I had to explain that the English of all ages 
have a curious fancy for walking in the dark, and 
after a few minutes' pause, filled up by the family's 
ejaculations at my remarkable activity, I pursued 
my way across the rickety bridge, watching a pale 
yellow gleam gradually appearing in the east, and 
wondering whether it meant that the sun would 
come out presently. The river was higher than 
ever. As a rule the Rio Tinto is a stream of 
wonderful colours, coppery green and bronze and 
orange, which turn to molten gold in the sunshine ; 
but now the flood-water had so completely swamped 
the rest that it looked more like a sea of liquid mud 
than the " dyed river." It seemed to me doubtful 
whether the bridge would hold up another twenty- 


four hours, and I knew that the part of wisdom 
would be to turn round and go back to Seville by 
the next train. But I was bent upon another visit 
to the convent at Moguer, and still more bent upon 
getting the photographs which the Mother Superior 
had given me leave to take, and I could only 
hope that the yellow streak in the east might 
mean a day without rain and a diminished flood 

I got my photographs, between showers, and one 
of them would have been made quite charming by 
the graceful figure of the nun who showed me round, 
leaning over the well-head to raise the bucket from 
the water far below. But when she realised that 
she was in the picture she fled behind the camera, 
and nothing would induce her to pose for me. 

" For Dios!" she cried; " I cannot go out into 
the world in a photograph ! " 

The rain began again in the evening, and I 
heard it pelting on the windows as I sat with the 
Senora de Pinzon and her daughter round the cosy 
Camilla, talking of friends in common. We are apt 
to think a brazier rather an insufficient means of 
warming a room on a chilly night, but when we 
have sat an hour or so with our toes under the round 
petticoated table close to the pan of charcoal, we 
find ourselves suffused from head to foot with a 
warm glow which is by no means to be despised. It 
was late when I took my leave of the family to 
whom I owed so much of the enjoyment of my trip, 
and I had to get up about 4 a.m. to catch the early 
diligence to the station. I was anxious to get across 


the estuary as soon as possible, and I had given 
special orders to secure my seat in the bus before- 

" You will not mind letting yourself out," said 
the landlady cheerfully, when I bade her good-night. 
" I have told the driver to send a man down for 
your luggage at five o'clock. He will tap at your 
window when he comes, and you will find the key 
in the door. We do not get up so early if we can 
help it, and we know you are a lady who can be 
trusted to shut the street door after her." 

I don't suppose there was much to steal in the 
fonda, but whatever there was I could have taken 
it had I chosen, when I left Moguer next morning, 
and I thought it was just as well that the Senora de 
Pinzon had a stout iron grille at the entrance to her 
apartments upstairs, with all their valuable historical 
contents, if this was the usual way of speeding the 
parting guest. I got up at four, boiled water to 
wash in on my spirit stove, drank hot coffee out of 
my thermos flask, and packed my things ready to 
start at five. But five struck, and 5.15, and 5.30, 
and no one came from the diligence, and at last in 
despair I unlocked the street door, left it on the 
latch, and hurried up the hill in the rain and dark- 
ness to the coach office. There was the coach ready 
to start, and the driver was taking his early 
aguardiente in the drink shop hard by, but there 
was no one to fetch my luggage, and when I got 
hold of the coachman he said he had heard nothing 
about it, and had no one to send. 

" But the landlady told me she gave special 


orders last night, and that you promised to have me 
fetched at five o'clock." 

"She didn't tell me, for I was not at the office. 
Had she told me I should have been at the fonda 
before now. She must have told the other driver, 
who takes turns with me to go to the station. 
What is to be done ? Can you not carry your own 
bag to the coach if I wait here for you ? " 

" I certainly can not. And meanwhile the 
fonda door is open for thieves to enter, and the 
inmates may be murdered in their beds. Why not 
fetch it yourself and earn my peseta instead of my 
giving it to some one else who does not deserve it 
half so much ? I should be greatly obliged to you, 
and you will get your tip at the station just the 
same, besides your peseta now." 

" Andando ! (Come along 1) Certainly I can do 
with a pesetita as well as another man." 

And, telling an old woman in the shop to mind 
his meek and dejected horses, he set off with me to 
the inn, shouldered my belongings, shouted a "good- 
morning" outside the landlady's room which must 
have roused everybody within from the sleep they 
were so desirous of prolonging, and banged the street 
door as we went out with a noise loud enough to 
wake the town. 

" They thoroughly deserve it," said he as we 
hurried off together. " What disgraceful discourtesy 
to allow a lady like your honour to leave the fonda 
unattended ! Gracias d Dios that I was on the spot 
to make good their short-comings. You will send 
for me next time you come to Moguer, Senora, 


and you shall not have to complain of negligence 
again ! " 

I certainly shall remember him, for I never saw 
a prompter " quick change act" from supine indiffer- 
ence to my plight to eager courtesy than was effected 
by him on the mention of the magic word " peseta." 

It continued to rain heavily ; we ploughed in 
pitch darkness through a sea of mud, and the 
diligence rocked and rolled in the ruts all down the 
long hill to the river. But I was so well entertained 
by the conversation of my only fellow-passenger 
that we got into San Juan and pulled up at the 
station before I realised that we had crossed the 
perilous bridge safe and sound. 

He was, he said, going to meet a connection of 
his family recently arrived in Seville, Senor Be than - 
court, who held a high diplomatic position in one of 
the South American republics. His relative's career, 
said the homely-looking countryman, had been most 
romantic. He came of a very old family of French 
origin, had left his home in Moguer when quite a 
lad, had been shipwrecked and cast up on the estate 
of a wealthy man who took him into his employ, and 
eventually made him a partner in the business and 
allowed him to marry his only daughter. 

"But he has never forgotten his family at 
Moguer," concluded my friend, " and although I am 
only related to him through my wife, he has lately 
written to me saying that he was coming to Spain, 
and inviting me to meet him in Seville." 

I may not have got the details of the romance 
quite right, but there was no doubt about the great 


man's loyalty to those he had left behind him, and 
all through the drive the name of Bethancourt rang 
in my ears, while I tried in vain to recall what I had 
previously known of the family. 

On looking them up among the multifarious 
notes which I have a genius for making and for- 
getting, I found that here was another of Moguer's 
links with Spanish history. 

In 1344 Pope Clement vi. gave the Lordship of 
the Canaries, then known as the Fortunate Isles, to 
Don Luis de la Cerda, a grandson of Alfonso x., with 
the title of Prince, and instructions to conquer and 
Christianise them. One would have thought that 
the islands should be conquered before they were 
given away, but it seems to have been the custom 
for the Popes to give away what they did not 
possess. Some historians assert that Alfonso XL, 
sovereign lord of the islands, was not best pleased 
at their being presented to his cousin, and wrote a 
letter to the Pope which to the frivolous modern 
eye seems to have been couched in a somewhat 
satirical vein, for he "thanked His Holiness for 
having made the gift, although it was in his (the 
writer's) sovereign dominion." 

Don Luis de la Cerda, however, did not benefit 
by the somewhat dubious rights conferred on him, 
for he went off to France, his mother's native land, 
and was there killed in battle two years later, never 
having visited the Canaries at all ; and the next we 
hear of the Fortunate Isles is that after some vicissi- 
tudes they came in the course of a business trans- 
action into the hands of "Mossen Juan de Betancur," 


a French gentleman who carried out his enterprise 
to such good purpose that the people gave him the 
title of king. 

This was in 1417, and meanwhile a good deal of 
highly profitable traffic had been going on between 
the "idolaters" of the islands and Seville and other 
Andalucian ports, including, it would seem, our little 
Palos and Moguer. Efforts were again being made 
to convert them, some Franciscan friars had 
established themselves there, and now Pope Martin 
v. appointed "Mossen" Bethancourt's cousin, Don 
Mendo, as Bishop of the Rubicon, which seems to 
have been the name given to the diocese, and he 
came to Seville to swear obedience, as his suffragan, 
to the Archbishop. 

Twenty years later, the commerce with the 
Canaries becoming presumably more and more 
lucrative, it was discovered that a great mistake 
had been made in allowing a Frenchman to acquire 
the lordship of the islands, and an armed force was 
sent over from Spain to dispossess Mossen Juan's 
son, who now reigned in his stead, on the pretext of 
misgovernment and disrespect to the friars, who 
were busy making " new Christians " of " Mossen 
Menaute " Bethancourt's subjects. 

Mossen Menaute, according to the chroniclers, 
was not strong enough to fight the Spaniards, but 
he came pretty well out of the business, for he sold 
his rights, lock, stock, and barrel, to the Count of 
Niebla, one of the Medina Sidonia family, and with 
the proceeds he established himself at Moguer. 
When his guiding hand was removed, the prosperous 


trade which had aroused the cupidity of the powers 
in Spain so quickly declined that the Canary Isles 
became a source of expense rather than of profit, and 
changed hands time after time in the next half- 
century ; while " Mossen Betancur " flourished on 
his new estate, and founded the family with which 
my travelling companion was so pleased to claim 

I got back to Seville none too soon, for the rain 
which drove me away from Moguer continued and 
increased, until all the Andalucian rivers overflowed. 
The railway from Seville to Huelva was under water, 
and the Columbus country isolated. In the matter 
of the shaky bridge, however, good came out of evil, 
for it became so much shakier in consequence of the 
floods that the authorities were forced at last to take 
action, and now pilgrims to La Rabida may drive 
there vid Moguer and Palos with quiet minds, for 
there is no longer any imminent danger of the 
diligence toppling over into the river. 


The Guadalquivir Arabic gardens "Bird's milk" Wild 
camels Tartessian cattle The city of Hercules The 
foundations of Tharsis Subterranean galleries The " Laby- 
rinth "A careful father The potters' suburb The City of 
the Poles Triana under flood Rising wells A tower of 
refuge Villages under water Humours of the inundated 
Governmental neglect A night of terror The gallant priest 
King Alfonso feeds the hungry The "Economical 
Kitchen " Honours for the English ladies. 

THE Guadalquivir seems to be known to the English 
chiefly by Byron's references to it, and unluckily he 
rhymes it with " river," which was convenient for 
him, but not for the tourist who takes Byron for his 
guide to the pronunciation. For the Guadalquivir is 
the Wady al kabir of the Arabs (the great river) 
and the name is still pronounced with the accent, 
as in Arabic, on the last syllable. Thus when the 
traveller asks his way to the " Gwaddlequiver," the 
native is at a loss for his meaning. Baedeker might 
usefully see to this ; and while he is about it he 
might also mention that Granada has the accent on 
the second syllable. For when a traveller in a hurry 
asks for the train to "Grannader" the porters are 
apt to get confused and put him into the first train 
for any town the name of which is accented on the 
first syllable e.g. Malaga. This actually happened 



in the case of an acquaintance of ours, who was 
rather deaf and did not know a word of Spanish. 
He found himself at Malaga instead of " Grannader," 
and his language was vigorous and picturesque. All 
this waste of time, temper, and money might have 
been avoided had Baedeker instructed his readers 
how to pronounce the Spanish for pomegranate. 

Since time began Seville seems to have been the 
victim of floods. The catchment area of the Guadal- 
quivir is enormous, since with its tributaries it drains 
practically the whole of Andalucia, from the Sierra 
Morena in the north to the Sierra Nevada in the 
south. From Cordova the river runs through vast 
plains, mostly alluvial soil of great fertility. So rich 
is this soil that the Arabs used to say that bird's 
milk could be got from the gardens round Seville, 
meaning that there is nothing that will not grow 
there with sufficient care and attention. The Arabic 
historians assure us that, nine centuries ago, there 
were twenty thousand farms and villages between 
Cordova and Seville, all living by agriculture and 
gardening; and although the number is obviously 
exaggerated, there can be no doubt that the whole 
of the riparian plain was highly cultivated. At that 
time the great river and its tributaries were so care- 
fully dyked and dammed for purposes of milling and 
irrigation, that floods were far less frequent than now. 

But the local archives show that within a century 
after the Christians became rulers of Seville the 
irrigation system was falling into decay, and the 
bed of the river was rapidly silting up. Now hardly 
a trace remains of the system of hydraulics inherited 


from Egypt, or perhaps inherited from Tartessus, 
for the Tartessians too constructed admirable water- 
works. To-day, chiefly for lack of water, most of 
the valley of the Guadalquivir is a waste of rough 
pasture, a swamp in winter and a desert in summer, 
ranged over by herds of half-wild cattle when the 
spring and autumn showers have raised a crop of 
coarse grass ; the resort of birds of every description, 
the dwelling-place of boar, deer, hares, and other 
wild creatures, great and small, and the safe refuge 
of a herd of wild camels, never approached and 
seldom seen unless by the passenger or crew of some 
river steamer when they come down to the water at 
dawn. Thus they were once observed by a friend 
of mine, who took them for cattle until the sun rose 
suddenly and she saw their humps. After that she 
was always on the look out for them, and saw them 
again not long after, near enough and for long 
enough to count sixteen of them, old and young. 
The origin of this herd of wild camels is unknown, 
but it seems clear that they have a good deal of 
vitality. For generations the marsh men used to 
shoot the young and sell their flesh as venison in 
the towns ; yet the herd continued to breed in its 
secret places in the wilds, and now that the shooting 
of them is strictly prohibited it is increasing a 
testimony to the immense extent of the waste lands 
as well as to the mild climate of this province. What 
the camels do when the valley is flooded no one 
knows, but they must go to some place of refuge, 
for every one knows what happens to the cattle if 
they are caught by the flood. 


Some years ago a ten months' drought was 
broken by a terrific thunderstorm which in one 
night raised the Guadalquivir many feet. A friend 
of ours had some eight hundred cattle herded on 
the Isla Mayor, a large island in the river about half- 
way between Seville and San Lucar. They were 
caught by the flood water, although it did not rise 
high enough to sweep them away. Next morning 
over four hundred of them lay dead, not from drown- 
ing but from the sudden chill, which their frames, 
weakened by the long drought and by struggling 
against the rush of water, were unable to resist. 

In Tartessian times the cattle of the famous 
breed of Geryon, afterwards dedicated to the new 
deity adopted by the Tartessians and known as 
Hercules, used to feed in the valley of the Guadal- 
quivir, or river Tartessus. But their pasturage area 
cannot have been anything as large as it is now, for 
we are told that the river was like a great lagoon 
then, and contained a chain of islands, great and 
small, on which the Tartessian cattle fed and bred, 
to the great profit of their owners. There must 
have been, however, plenty of shallows and elevations 
formed by the ever-growing alluvial deposits of the 
river, for Strabo tells us that twice every day, when 
the tide came up from the sea, the Tartessian cattle 
of their own accord left the lower pastures and took 
refuge on the higher ground of the islands. 

In the annals of a sixteenth-century Sevillian 
writer I find a note to the effect than when Hercules 
first came up the Guadalquivir he discovered Seville 
itself lying on an island in the middle of the river, 


and called it the City of Poles, because it was built 
on piles. Afterwards, say our non-critical chroniclers, 
Hercules and his " brother " Atlas decided to build 
the "great city" on the highest point of the same 
islands, and replaced the "poles" by more solid 

Down to the seventeenth century these ingenuous 
legends were so firmly believed by the Sevillians 
that no sceptic dared risk a broken head by disput- 
ing them. And indeed to this day we see three 
granite monoliths on the precise spot indicated as 
that chosen by Hercules, after consultation with 
Atlas, for the erection of his temple. They are still 
commonly known as the Columns of Hercules, although 
half a century or so ago an intelligent municipality, 
for no apparent reason, elected to change the name 
of the street to Marmoles, which means not granite 
but marbles. 

With the gradual spread of knowledge the legend 
of Hercules and the city he built here became dis- 
credited, until after the seventeenth century it was 
dismissed as a ridiculous myth without any founda- 
tion. But the silly "common" people went on 
calling their monoliths "The Pillars of Hercules," 
because, as they could not read or write, the anti- 
quarian discussions of the Sevillian professors did 
not affect their traditional beliefs. 

And now comes the point of my story. Three 
or four years ago a worthy man of business, who 
knew nothing and cared less for any of the theories 
of the learned gentlemen who decided what was or 
was not to be believed in Seville, began to dig for 


his own purposes near the place which tradition 
marks as chosen by Hercules for the site of his 
city. And to his annoyance he found one layer of 
ancient buildings below another, until he had got 
some twenty-seven feet down below the level of the 
present street of Marmoles, in his search for firm 
foundations on which to build new shops. Here he 
found subterranean galleries, man high and wide 
enough for two men to walk abreast, built of stone 
and of that indestructible cement which seems to 
have been the secret of Tartessus, together with 
small broken columns of the same granite and the 
same cutting as those three of Hercules, twenty of 
whose forty feet still project from the top of this 
same hill. And now it seems clear that this was 
the lost city of Tharsis, whose site has so long been 
a mystery. 

Subterranean galleries, the purpose of which has 
not yet been discovered, are found beneath all this 
quarter of Seville. One begins to see that the 
sixteenth-century Heraclean legend may have had 
some foundation in fact, and that the worshippers 
of Hercules or his forerunner Geryon may literally 
have substituted these galleries of masonry for the 
perishable foundations of the prehistoric "lake- 
dwellings " built on poles. This view is supported 
by Don Carlos Canal, Deputy to Cortes, who wrote 
'a book on Prehistoric Seville twenty years or more 
ago, before the discoveries in Crete had revolutionised 
the science of archaeology. 

Some portions of the Tartessian galleries still 
exist in a state of perfect preservation ; but these 


are under the highest part of the town, where floods 
could never have come, and I think must have been 
built for some of the mysteries of the Tartessian sun- 
worship, relics of which one finds elsewhere. Others, 
at a lower level, seem as if they must have been in- 
tended to afford free passage to the water of the river. 

One most interesting and perfectly accessible 
gallery is unluckily private property, and it is 
exceedingly difficult to get permission to visit it. 
I have done so three times, thanks to the insistence 
of a priest as keen about archaeology as I am. But 
it was sorely against the grain of the owner. 

He is a middle-aged gentleman who has never 
in his life ventured down the staircase which was 
built to give access to the labyrinth, as it is called, 
when it was accidentally discovered in the sixteenth 
century. On my first visit I went down the twenty- 
seven feet to the floor level of the galleries with the 
owner's son, an intelligent lad keenly interested in 
the strange place. Although it is pitch dark, it is 
perfectly ventilated through invisible openings to 
the upper air, the outlets of which have long been 
lost sight of, and we easily made our way from one 
circular chamber to another by the light of candles 
along the barrel-shaped passages, which are of 
convenient width and more than a man's height, 
and I was delighted at finding such an opportunity 
for study at my own door, as it were. 

But alas ! I had reckoned without my host. 
Before we had been there ten minutes that gentleman 
began to shout from the head of the stairs for us 
to come back 


" You have been down there quite long enough. 
You will get lost in the dark. You will catch 
pneumonia in the cold and the damp. Come up ! 
Come up ! I insist ! I command ! My son, why 
do you not obey me ? I will not have you catch 
pneumonia. You have had more than time to see 
everything. There is nothing to see. For thirty 
years I have lived here and I have never gone down. 
The place is of no importance whatever. You must 
come up at once." 

Not for a moment did he stop shouting. At 
first the boy told me to pretend I did not hear, and 
to pay no attention to his father's protestations, but 
very soon he said he dared not remain longer, and 
that if I would come up now he would take me 
down again the day after to-morrow, by which time 
he would talk his father over into letting us stay 
below as long as we wished. 

Again, alas ! With much protest I was allowed 
to go down again the day after to-morrow, as 
arranged, but the shouts to " come up ! " were more 
continuous and more insistent than ever, and little 
work could be done. 

Once more, some months later, I wrung a 
reluctant permission from the owner to take down 
a distinguished architect, but the only time we 
were allowed to enter the sacred precincts was at 
eight in the morning, when the friendly son, un- 
informed of our visit, was safe in bed. Two ancient 
female servants were sent down to see that we did 
not get into mischief, while for a whole hour the 
owner shouted that if we had any regard for our 


health we would not linger in that dangerous 

When next I saw the boy, who was anxious to 
have the place scientifically studied, he told me 
that his father was determined to refuse all further 
applications for permission to visit this almost unique 
survival of a vanished civilisation. 

" And to make quite sure that I shall not open 
the door when he is out of the way," said the lad, 
" he now keeps the key in his pocket all day and 
sleeps with it under his pillow." 

Such is the encouragement given to archaeologists 
in Seville. 

It seems clear that the inhabitants of a town 
built on the principle of a prehistoric lake-dwelling, 
but having solid stone galleries instead of piles for 
its foundations, would have little to fear from floods. 
And it is the case that from the dawn of Spanish 
history until after the recon quest in 1248 we find 
nothing to suggest any serious trouble of the kind. 
But from then onwards we hear more and more of 
the increasing ravages wrought by the water, and 
these can only be attributed to persistent neglect 
of the hydraulic engineering works which the Seville 
Arabs and Mozarabs had carried to such perfection. 

Triana, the potters' suburb of Seville from time 
immemorial, although now to some extent protected 
by wharves, lies considerably below the level of 
even a moderate flood. Probably in old times it 
was all built on galleries and arcades, and even 
now the main street has ancient arcades on either 
side for some little distance. The road between has 


risen so much that one column, perhaps Roman, is 
only three or four feet high, and when the floods 
come the water quickly fills the ground-floor rooms 
to the ceilings. It is possible that this is an actual 
relic of the " City of the Poles," although of course 
rebuilt again and again until only the idea of the 
primitive part remains. 

Triana is always the first quarter to be flooded 
and the last to be cleared when the river overflows, 
for the sewer outfalls are below the flood-level, and 
it seems impossible to close them against the weight 
of the flood water moreover, when they are closed, 
the rain has no outlet and pools in the streets. 
Some day perhaps the petition of the 10,000 
Trianeros, repeated year after year for goodness 
knows how long, will be attended to by the 
authorities in Madrid, and then the old river-bed 
(la madre vieja), which has been silted up for 
centuries, will be cleared out and used to carry off 
the flood water. But this obvious remedy has not 
yet been applied by the wisdom of the Ministers 
who rule Spain, and the terror that seizes upon all 
who live below the flood-level when heavy rains set 
in is a thing to be remembered. 

In February 1912 we were living in a modern 
house in a low-lying part of Seville, some little way 
from the river. The ground floor of the house had 
been artificially raised about five feet above the 
level of the street, but if the river had risen two or 
three inches above the twenty-seven feet that it 
had reached the night before it began to go down, 
the whole street would quickly have been flooded, 


and we, like Triana, would have had to be fed by 
boat. All that night a violent thunderstorm raged, 
to add the finishing touch to our panic ; for there 
was nothing now between Seville and the river save 
some improvised barriers hastily erected with sixty 
hours of incessant labour by the soldiers of the 
garrison, and against these the water was already 
streaming with force. 

But our case, though serious enough, was 
nothing like so critical as that of many others, for 
it was at any rate not likely that the water would 
actually come into our house. A friend of mine, 
like scores of residents in Seville, has in her house 
a well of brackish water, and all these wells are fed 
in some way from the river bed. My friend knows 
that it is only the walls of the new wharves, built 
during the last twenty years or so, that keeps her 
well from overflowing whenever the river rises even a 
few feet. And once the wells in that part of the 
town overflow from the river, nothing can check 
the ingress of the water, for the whole district lies 
far below flood-level. Day and night for a week 
she kept on taking soundings, until during the last 
night, that of the thunderstorm, the water in the 
well at last began to rise, one metre . . . two metres 
. . . three metres. ... By daybreak, notwithstanding 
all her prayers and vows to the Virgin, it was within 
six feet of the top, and was still rising rapidly. 

"And then," said she, "at the last moment 
Our Lady answered my prayers." 

The storm ceased, the sun came out, and before 
the tide turned at midday the flag was flying on 


the Torre del Oro to tell panic-stricken Seville that 
the river was going down. Indeed the change came 
only just in time, for the flood was within an ace of 
overlapping the frail temporary barriers which alone 
kept the water out of the main part of the town. 

By that time Triana, on the opposite bank, had 
been for six days under water, with from six to nine 
feet of it in every single house. The whole of the 
river valley, from Cordova down to the mouth, was 
one vast inland sea. In the riverside villages 
hardly a house was above water. Algaba, the first 
village above Seville, was entirely submerged, and 
about 750 out of the 800 inhabitants, having nowhere 
else to go, were huddled together in the ancient 
tower which, the villagers say, was built expressly 
as a refuge when the river rises. Imagine 750 
people shut up for a week in one small tower ! As 
soon as it was possible to row against the subsid- 
ing stream, I went up with a boat-load of good 
Samaritans to carry help to some families we knew, 
and I shall never forget what I saw. 

The fields were feet deep in silt, the spring crops 
ruined, the streets a mass of indescribable filth, the 
poor cottages, generally trim and sweet with frequent 
whitewash, were banked up with stinking mud. 
But the blazing February sun was streaming down 
on all the misery ; gay-coloured clothes, blankets, 
mats, curtains, beds and bedding, were hung 
out to dry, the women were all hard at work with 
their whitewash and scrubbing pails, and an 
astonishing spirit of courage and philosophy per- 
vaded the whole place. 


From the moment they could get across the 
ferry, three families had been tramping into Seville 
about a mile and a half of road, mostly under 
water to get rations from the " English " soup 
kitchen, and it was to verify their incredible tales 
of distress that we had rowed up. 

" Yes, it was quite true that there was hardly 
anything to eat. It was also true that there was 
no work at present, and thus the supplies of rice, 
garbanzos, and haricot beans given by the Sefiores 
were more welcome than words could say. But 
the good sun was shining and everything would 
soon dry up, and then the rich Senors Fulano and 
Mengano, who owned all the land round about, 
would have to employ every hand they could get 
to sow the fields over again, for they certainly would 
not lose a whole season's crops, and they would 
have to pay good wages too, for there would be 
work for every able-bodied man from Seville to 
Cordova. And thus, if God pleased, good might 
soon come out of their present misery." 

One of the more prosperous women, who had a 
loft above her cottage a great rarity in this single- 
storeyed village and thus had been able to save 
her furniture, insisted on giving us hot coffee before 
we left, and indignantly refused to be paid for it. 
" It was the least she could do when we had been 
so good to them," she said, and she had a brazier 
burning so that we should not feel the damp of the 
room, which she had just finished whitewashing 
before we came. 

We felt ashamed to demur at sitting for ten 


minutes in the kitchen, reeking with damp, where 
the family had to live, but we were shivering with 
cold before we could decently take our leave, and 
since then I have always wondered why the whole 
village did not die of fever and ague, instead of 
being noted for their excellent health. 

The cheerfulness with which the disaster was 
met at Algaba was even more striking at Triana. 
Here those whose houses had two or three storeys 
all took refuge on the upper floors, and were fed 
from boats for the six days during which the suburb 
was under water. Rations for all were provided by 
the authorities, and no one here need have starved, 
although the organisation of supplies for some ten 
thousand people in this quarter alone, besides several 
thousands more in flooded streets on the outskirts 
of the town itself, was a task of no small difficulty. 
Every one fared alike, getting only bread and the 
plainest fare, but in sufficient quantities to keep 
body and soul together if each took no more than 
his fair share. Very few could get ferried through 
the flooded streets to the bridge into Seville, and 
indeed for a day or two wheeled traffic over the 
single bridge was forbidden, save to convey food, 
for the water was nearly up to the top of the arch, 
and the whole structure was threatened. Had the 
bridge gone, all Triana must have starved, for no 
boat could cross that raging torrent. 

Few lives were lost, though house after house 
in the oldest and poorest quarters fell in, and in one 
case a whole family was shut up in an old building 
without a window to the street, and when they 


were discovered three days later two of the children 
were dead from cold and hunger. For it was very 
cold during those grey, sunless days. But the 
rescue work was as well organised as the com- 
missariat, and the young vicar of the parish, Don 
Bernardo Guerra, who was working like a man, 
became the hero of the imprisoned Trianeros. He 
himself seemed quite unaware of his popularity ; 
indeed, he said his people were angry with him be- 
cause, " although he was working at relief so many 
hours a day that he had hardly time to eat or drink 
or sleep or pray, it was impossible to supply a 
hundredth part of their needs." 

" But now that the sun is shining again, things 
are going better," he said. ''Indeed, even during 
the worst of the bad week it was surprising how a 
fitful gleam of sunshine enlivened the inundated 
people. The Trianeros have a gaiety of spirit peculi- 
arly their own, which never deserts them for long, 
and it was curious to see how it came out among 
the hundreds of refugees housed in our new school 
buildings. It was also very noticeable how the 
women preserved even there their habits of cleanli- 
ness and decency. None of them had more privacy 
than they could obtain by hanging up shawls and 
sheets to separate one family from another, and yet 
most of them contrived to keep their own little 
places tidy and comparatively comfortable. The 
gipsies, it is true, looked as if they were picnicking 
in a rag fair, but they kept together at one end of 
the big class-rooms, apart from the other refugees. 
And you would have smiled to see the girls dressing 


their hair as if for & fiesta, and even dancing while 
the young men sang to a guitar which one of them 
had saved from the wreck of his home. It was 
difficult to believe when the sun shone for a few 
moments what desolation there was outside. But 
when night fell the suffering was at its worst. The 
authorities managed to keep water, gas, and electric 
light going in the streets, but in the houses the 
fittings were all under water, and the darkness 
accentuated the distress. And then the pistol shots 
going off for help, and the difficulty of locating the 
sound along the flooded streets, and the fear of 
arriving too late to save lives ... it was an ex- 
perience one would not forget in a century." 

Don Bernardo stopped speaking, with a look in 
his liquid-brown eyes as of one who sees a night- 

" But you did always get there in time ? " I 
gently prompted ; " what about the affair in the 
Calle Evangelic ? I saw it mentioned in the papers. 
They said you got an ovation." 

" The papers talk a lot of nonsense," said the 
priest, smiling once more. " It was nothing, and 
what credit there was is not mine. Now about those 
mattresses ? How many more can you provide from 
the English Relief Fund? We are to get fifteen 
hundred from the Government grant, they tell me, 
but not until the money is paid, and I am wondering 
if it will come before next summer. Meanwhile the 
hundred sent by the English ladies have been a great 
boon, and there were also sixteen from a Spanish 
lady. But we want a thousand at once, for families 


who have lost everything and now are sleeping on 
the floors of houses which were under water a week 
ago. Ay de mi de mi alma ! And all this suffering 
would have been prevented if the Government had 
agreed to the protective work on the old river bed 
last year ! " 

"But I want to know about the affair in the 
Calle Evangelio," I persisted, and Don Bernardo, 
always courteous, could not refuse to tell me. 

" It was nothing there were many such 
incidents. I was in bed. Tired? Well, perhaps; 
we do not sleep much just now. Suddenly I heard 
pistol shots, several, fired quickly one after the 
other, so I knew the danger was imminent. I ran 
to my window to call the boatman, who was 
supposed to be at my service day and night, but the 
poor fellow was tired out, and a long way off, at the 
far end of this long street. I could make out his 
boat, tied to a balcony. I guessed he had fallen 
asleep, or perhaps, for we are all human, was inside 
the house getting a drink. Do not blame him. Those 
who had stayed out all day in the cold wind and 
soaking rain knew well how pardonable was his 
lapse from duty. If there had been a cart or even 
a donkey I should have taken it without asking 
permission. But it was the middle of the night. I 
dared not wade ; I am not tall, and the water was 
over three feet deep in my street. And then one of 
my neighbours, excellent fellow, roused like myself 
by the shots, offered to take me on his back. He is 
a fisherman, strong in the legs and much taller than 
I. Understand that he asked no reward ; indeed, 


he refused payment from the funds that I hold for 
relief. He carried me on his shoulders to the boat, 
and the boatman came out quickly, very much 
ashamed. My fisherman began to rate him, but I 
said, ' Save your breath to help row, for I fear we 
may arrive too late.' We all three rowed very hard, 
and the current seemed like a giant's hand dragging 
back our boat. You see the embankment of the 
railway to Huelva causes the flood water to eddy 
in our streets. I do not understand engineering, 
but every one in Triana knows that the embank- 
ment is our ruin. It was planned by engineers in 
Madrid, and the protest of those who knew the river 
was not attended to. The poor people of Triana 
curse the embankment every time there is a flood, 
and this time they would have gone and torn it 
down with their own hands if they could have got 
to it without being drowned on the way. Well, we 
reached the Calle Evangelio at last. The shots were 
fired from a house with two storeys, and all the 
inhabitants had been living on the upper one since 
the flood began. The water was six feet deep in the 
street, and it was quite dark. We got them all into 
the boat from a balcony, except one man. He had 
to jump, for just as he was ready to climb over the 
rail the whole front of the house seemed to melt away. 
It had been undermined by the water, and fell in all 
at once. Yes, I suppose the poor people might all 
have been drowned, had the good God not woke the 
fisherman in time to go to their rescue. I was 
responsible in a certain sense, but I could not have 
got there in time but for him. Therefore, such credit 


as there was, should have been given by the papers 
to him, not to me." 

On the last and worst day of the floods the King 
came to Seville with the Minister of Public Works ; 
and then the poor Trianeros were glad they had not 
pulled down the railway embankment, for the first 
thing His Majesty did was to steam off along that 
line, across the waste of waters, to visit a village 
which lay with little more than its roofs above the 
flood. I watched the engine with its single carriage 
crawl over the bridge and along the embankment, 
very slowly, for there was no knowing what unseen 
damage might have been done by the turbid yellow 
flood below the rails and sleepers. 

Everybody thought that as the King and the 
Minister had now seen for themselves the intolerable 
injury that the piece of bad engineering was inflicting 
on Seville, the necessary authority for the work on the 
old river bed would be given immediately. That was 
a year and nine months ago, and Don Bernardo and 
his colleagues have been making ceaseless efforts ever 
since to get the matter attended to. But we have 
had three different Ministries in power during these 
twenty- one months, and none of them has had time 
to think of such trifles as protecting the third most 
important port in Spain from devastating inunda- 
tions. During November 1913 the port had twice 
to be closed to navigation, owing to the height of 
the flood water, and it would not be difficult to 
calculate how much money has thus been lost to the 
town, though no one who has not seen Triana flooded 
can estimate the cost in fear and anxiety to the 


fathers who cannot earn bread for their children, 
and the mothers who watch in hourly dread of the 
irremediable ruin of their homes. 

But no one blames the King. They know it is 
no fault of his, for they saw him in Triana that 
February day in 1912, going from house to house 
in a cart or a boat and hoisting up provisions with 
his own hands, in baskets slung down from the 
balconies, and they watched him standing ankle 
deep in water at the rise of the bridge, insisting on 
visiting the streets that had suffered most. 

" God knows no one street had suffered more 
than another/' said the journeyman potter who told 
me this, " for all were under water alike. ' What 
a terrible disaster ! ' said the King. His gentlemen 
tried to hold him back, for they had to follow where 
he led, and they did not want to get their feet wet. 
But they might as well have tried to hold the river 
back. He is a King \ He gave two thousand 
pesetas then and there, and he sent twenty thousand 
more from Madrid as soon as he got back. But 
the best thing of all was the King's Kitchen. He 
ordered free hot meals to be served at his expense 
every day and all day as long as the flood lasted, 
to every Trianero who chose to ask for them no 
recommendations required, no religious conditions. 
The King said no one was to be asked a question : 
everybody who was hungry was to have a meal 
in his kitchen. It saved many lives. True, we 
all had bread from the Town Council, but we fathers 
could not take our share while the children were 
hungry, and we were weak from long fasting, for 


you must understand that many of us had been out 
of work for a month, owing to bad weather, before 
the river overflowed. What a bad time God gave 
us this winter ! But, thank God, there is work for 
all Triana now, for there are so many houses to 
be repaired and rebuilt that we cannot make bricks 
fast enough, and the masters have had to raise our 


Soup kitchens, or as the Sevillians call them, 
"Economical kitchens" (cocinas economicas), are 
little used here in times of public distress. It never 
seems to occur to the wealthy Sevillian ladies that 
with a very little trouble and organisation they 
could easily start private soup kitchens in their 
own houses, if only for the friends and relations 
of their numerous menages. Of course, when the 
floods came, a soup kitchen was the first idea that 
occurred to some members of the English colony, 
and within twenty-four hours of the inundation of 
Triana, Mr. Keyser, our Consul, together with myself 
and a few other ladies, had collected enough money 
among our personal friends to supply two hundred 
rations a day for a fortnight. 

The distribution took place in our house, 
because our patio happened to be the most con- 
venient for the purpose, and all our servants, like 
those at the Consulate, worked double tides through- 
out the fortnight, so that none of the Relief Fund 
should be spent on extra hands. At first we only 
intended to feed families connected with the English 
business houses, but we soon found that it was 
impossible to lay down hard-and-fast rules. One 


afternoon a man who had been waiting an hour 
for what might remain after the privileged people 
were fed, dropped in a dead faint on the floor, and 
it took half an hour to bring him round. After 
that we ladled out our soup as fast as we could 
to every white-faced shivering creature that pre- 
sented himself, without asking for his subscriber's 
card, not wishing for a repetition of the fright that 
seized us when the man fainted, for on that occasion 
it looked for a while as if our very small amount 
of red tape was to cost a life. 

We got up to five hundred rations a day before we 
closed our soup kitchen, and even then had money left 
to buy the hundred mattresses and pillows that were 
so useful to the Triana priest and all for a little 
over 60 in English money. True, the mattresses 
were very cheap, for a maker of them contributed 
to the relief by selling us all that we asked for 
considerably below cost price a practical form of 
charity that greatly appealed to the people. But 
if we had spent 6000 instead of 60 we could not 
have met with more gratitude. It was not so much 
the quantity or the quality of the soup, our parish 
priest explained. It was having it ready at the 
precise moment when it was wanted, for the thing 
was put in hand very promptly, and we got in 
ahead even of the King's Kitchen. Strange though 
it may seem to English people, accustomed to 
organised charity, no other private individual or 
private association in Seville adopted this simple 
means of providing hot meals at a minimum of 


But we had no idea of the fame we were ac- 
quiring indeed, we had no time to think of how 
our modest effort might strike the public. So we 
were surprised and amused when the editor of a 
local weekly paper sent round his photographer 
to get an illustration for an article on the " noble 
initiative of the English ladies." We told him we 
preferred to remain in retirement with our kettles. 
But he pointed out that a photograph of our truly 
"economical" kitchen would encourage the ladies 
of Seville to go and do likewise when another 
occasion should arise ; and after that we could not 
of course refuse to be immortalised with our tin 
pots about us, if only to show how easily five hundred 
people could be fed from a dozen petroleum tins boiled 
on gas rings. And having got his photograph and 
published his little article, our philanthropic editor 
proceeded to offer each of our helpers a copy of the 
photograph at three times the market price ! 

Another pretty speech brought further evidence, 
were it wanted, of the popular feeling towards the 
young Queen. We set aside a little of our money 
to redeem pawn-tickets in the case of two or three 
families who had been comparatively well-to-do 
before the floods and now only needed respectable 
clothing to obtain good employment again, and, of 
course, this was to be obtained much more cheaply 
by taking their own garments out of the Mont de 
Pie'te than by buying new for them. 

One of the poor women said with tears in her 
eyes as she handed me a sheaf of the depressing 
little papers 


" Oh, Senora Elena, you are like the Queen ! " 

I smiled at the remark, for although it has long 
been the fashion for Spanish gallants to tell English 
girls they resemble the Queen when they want to 
offer the greatest flattery, I could not imagine how 
even the most fervent gratitude could find any 
resemblance between an old woman with white hair 
and the beautiful young Queen. 

"Not in face, Senora, although you too are 
muy guapa (very attractive), but in generosity with 
the pawn-tickets. Have you not heard what the 
Queen did in that way ? A very poor woman of 
Triana threw a whole bundle of tickets into the 
Queen's carriage one day when she was driving 
through Triana, and instead of being vexed, the 
Queen sent down to Juana's house after she got 
back to the palace to see if it was true that she 
had sold everything. And it was quite true, and 
the Queen redeemed her tickets and afterwards many 
more for other women, when she learnt of cases 
of great distress for which the women were not to 
blame. I wish the rich knew how helpful it is 
to redeem our pawn-tickets, for many of our clothes 
and especially our boots are very good when we 
* put them away,' indeed, if they are not good 
the Mont de Pie'te will not give us anything for 

Nor was this the end of the compliments paid 
us ; for a few days later our man-servant came to tell 
me that he had been asked for the full names, 
family and baptismal, of all the English ladies who 
had helped to serve the soup, the same having been 


by a popular performer of ** Flamenco* 
songs at a certain music-hall. 

"But I refused to tell him," said our man 
proudly. "Having been in England with the 
Sefiores and knowing English customs, I informed 
him that compliments in your country had to be 
paid in a roundabout way, and that if your names 
were mentioned he would offend instead of pleasing.* 9 

"But what in the world did he want to know 
our names for?" I asked, completely mystified. 

"Por Dtos, Seftora! Don't you know that a 
couplet in praise of the English economical kitchen 
is sung every night at the BknkMankbiank, along 
with one about the King's Kitchen and the brave 
deeds of Don Bernardo Guena? Senora! That 
song IMS been the most popular item in the pro- 
gramme for many nights past* and for that reason 
Pepito wanted to improvise a second couplet giving 
all the ladies' names. But don't be aimous: I 
aawce you I refused with quite sufficient coldness to 
make him understand that he was taking a liberty.* 

The joke of it was that the Bknkhknkblank is 
a well-known cafe chantant in Seville which has 
been for years a atone of offence to Mrs. Grundy, 
both the English and the Spanish variety, and wdl- 
behaved members of society like ourselves would 
not have act foot inside it for wodds* Of comae our 
disapproval even if they had bam aware of it* would 
not have troubled the caK cbantant people at all, 
bat we fch rather as if time bbck sheep were Imp- 
ing coals of fire on our respectable heads 
tanned that aora about our civic virtues 


delighting crowded houses every night. But ut any 
rate we were in good company, with the King on 
one side and the parish priest on the other. 

And thus on a note of comedy closed our part in 

the, tragedy <>!' the I>T<-;.| < ,1, Hoods i-ver known in UK; 
long imn.'ils of the devastation wrought eentury after .11 ry l>y tlnj Guadalquivir. 




Popular monarchs King Alfonso and the washerwoman Royal 
charity No bull-fight required Reaction against the bull- 
ring A monarchical republican The guardian of the polo 
ground The King introduces the Queen A loyal old 
gardener The grief of Enriqueta The King at Ronda 
A lucky donkey-driver Careful rioters Viva el Hey ! 

I AM often asked by visitors whether the English 
Queen is popular in Spain, and I always wonder 
why such a question should occur to them. How 
could she fail to be popular, with youth, beauty, and 
a kind heart to give an extra gilding to her crown ? 

As a matter of fact, the longer one lives in Spain 
and the more one sees of the peasantry and the work- 
ing classes in general, the more delightful tales one 
hears of the private dealings of the King and Queen 
and the rest of the royal family with the " common " 
people ; and as very few of these have been published 
in the English papers, it seems worth while to put 
them on record before they are forgotten. I do not 
vouch for their literal truth, but I hardly think such 
stories would be current coin unless they had some 
foundation in fact, and in any case the people believe 
them to be true, and thus they illustrate the popular 
feeling towards the Royalties. 




Perhaps the story of King Alfonso and the 
washerwoman is already a chestnut, although I have 
never seen it in print. It dates from the days when 
motors were comparatively in their infancy, and the 
young King kept his entourage in a state of chronic 
nervousness by his devotion to the new machine, 
which in the opinion of the timid might run away or 
blow up at any moment. One winter afternoon the 
King did not return at the time he was expected, 
and there were serious thoughts of sending out a 
detachment of the Civil Guard with an ambulance 
in search of the errant motor. When His Majesty 
appeared, his lateness was explained by his having 
picked up a lame old laundress laden with clean 
linen, some little way out of Madrid, and taken her 
in his motor to the residence of her employers before 
he came home. 

Possibly this may be one of Ben Trovato's stories, 
but I can myself quite believe it, having heard at 
first hand of many other incidents showing the same 
impulsive kindness to the poor and lowly, and the 
same disregard of convention and regal state. 

Not only the King and Queen, but also the 
Queen-Mother and other members of the royal family 
have at one time or another picked up unfortunates 
who had met with accidents in the streets, and con- 
veyed them to their homes or to a hospital. On 
one occasion Queen Christina sat for half an hour on 
a bench in the park at Madrid, while her motor took 
an unlucky cyclist to hospital. He was a student 
who had cut his head badly, and the Queen herself 
directed her servants to lay him as comfortably as 


possible on the cushions, after binding up his wounds 
with her own hands. 

The Infanta Isabel, aunt of King Alfonso, 
recently delighted the crowd by an action which is 
less common now than it was a century ago. True, 
the vehicle was a fashionable motor, instead of a 
great royal coach as formerly, but the inspiration 
was the same. 

The Princess on her afternoon drive met a pro- 
cession carrying the Viaticum from one of the minor 
churches to a dying person. She got out of her 
motor, made the priest get in with his sacred burden, 
and herself walked to the sick man's house in the 
procession behind the Host, carrying a lighted 
candle. She is a great favourite in Spain, especially 
among the amateurs of the bull-ring, for her devo- 
tion to the national sport is so warm as to com- 
pensate them for the unconcealed distaste of some 
other members of her family. 

The King and Queen seldom go to a bull-fight, 
although when they do appear at one the fact is so 
freely advertised, and photographs of their Majesties 
are so widely circulated by those interested in main- 
taining the " sport," that probably the outside world 
believes that they are devoted to it. It is of course 
impossible that those who love horses and are them- 
selves skilled in horsemanship should have any sym- 
pathy with an entertainment in which the mangling 
of horses is an essential feature, although a King and 
Queen may sometimes have apparently to condone 
what they cannot approve. But their real feeling 
may be judged from a little incident which I had 


from an excellent authority the private secretary 
of the man to whom the King spoke. 

The occasion was a visit from their Majesties to 
a certain town which is renowned for its bull-fights, 
and has the reputation of producing the best toreros 
in Spain. The Alcalde presented his programme of 
festivities for the King's approval, and, pointing out 
one or two vacant dates, asked 

" When would you like to have the bull-fight, 

The King replied that he and the Queen had 
come for a holiday, and did not wish to have every 
day filled up in advance ; " and therefore," said his 
Majesty, " when I want a bull-fight I will ask for it." 
The Court spent a whole month in that town, 
and no bull-fight took place. 

Of course this, like everything else in Spain, is a 
political question. The Reactionaries, true to their 
principles, support existing institutions, while the 
Conservatives, Liberals, Radicals, Republicans, both 
reforming and revolutionary, Socialists, etc., all 
combine to denounce what they regard as one of 
the main factors in the atraso de Espana (the 
backwardness of Spain). 

Foreigners who object to the bull-fight must 
bear in mind that an immense amount of money is 
sunk in it, by the owners of large estates who breed 
the bulls, in the building and upkeep of the bull- 
rings, and in the very costly apparatus of the show, 
and it is only natural that capitalists should fight for 
the institution in which their money is invested. 
When foreigners indignantly ask why the King does 


not put a stop to the barbarous "sport," if it be 
true that he dislikes it, they do not realise that a 
constitutional King, however radical a reformer he 
may be, cannot by a stroke of the pen destroy the 
vested interests of a great and powerful section of 
the community. To suggest that King Alfonso 
should arbitrarily close all the bull-rings would be 
something like proposing that the King of England 
should, propio motu, close all the music-halls, re- 
gardless of the rights of the shareholders. And the 
bull-fights can at any rate plead a venerable anti- 
quity. Their origin is not certainly known, but it is 
possible that they date from the days of the Liby- 
Tartessians, when Minos ruled and encouraged bull- 
fights in Crete. 

What is new is the reaction against the ring, 
which is spreading with encouraging rapidity. One 
of the greatest virtues of Isabel IL, in the opinion of 
her time, was that she " was very fond of the bulls," 
and even now old ladies and gentlemen of that 
unlucky Queen's generation speak of her affection 
for the bull-fight as one of her redeeming qualities. 
Whereas not the least of King Alfonso's acknow- 
ledged claims on the respect and sympathy of the 
Radical and Republican sections of his subjects (and 
these include the mass of the working classes) is his 
obvious preference for other and more manly forms 
of sport. 

The republicanism of the peasant is a curious 
and interesting study, and I always love to draw 
him out on the subject. One day when I was 
digging in the mountains a heavy shower came on, 


and I took shelter with my workmen in a chambered 
tomb that we had been clearing. How the subject 
of the Monarchy came up between them I did not 
notice, for I was absorbed in a dramatic shifting of 
the storm-scene as I saw it framed by a rough 
opening in the rock where a fallen stone had revealed 
the existence of our burial cave. The hills had 
been purple, almost black, against the thunder- 
clouds, when suddenly there was a rift in the over- 
cast sky, a streak of sunshine shot out, and through 
the pouring rain a great sheet of silver appeared like 
magic on the distant hillside, where an instant 
before all had been unrelieved gloom. It was only 
a patch of grey rock, but it was transformed by a 
cascade of rain-water from the peaks above into a 
thing of ethereal beauty which vanished as quickly 
as it had appeared. 

A small boy a goat-herd in his Sunday best on 
his way to a fair in the neighbouring town had 
taken shelter with us in the cave, and at the men's 
request had been singing the local songs in a shrill 
treble for my benefit ; and when my thoughts began 
to wander from the company to that glorified hill- 
side, he was wailing a love-song of which I could 
not make out a word. It was rather a shock to me 
to be brought back to earth by hearing the gentlest 
and most courteous of my two diggers remark that 
he wished he had the King and the Alcalde of the 
town together in the cave, so that he might throttle 
them both. 

He explained that the Town Council owed him a 
considerable sum of money for a contract carried out 


by his father (recently dead) and himself, and his 
view was that if the King really was up to his work 
he would long ago have made an end of corruption 
and jobbery, and would have replaced the existing 
bureaucracy with honest men, who would pay poor 
labourers what they owed them instead of buying 
motors for their private amusement. And as the 
King had not done this, let him be throttled, or if 
not that, at least let us have a republic and make 
him the President of it. 

Poor Eamon ! He was suffering from a bad 
attack of political indigestion, and no wonder, for 
the unpaid bill, amounting to some hundreds of 
pesetas, meant a very heavy loss to a young man 
who had to support a widowed mother and various 
young brothers and sisters. I gave him a note of 
recommendation to the Alcalde, whom I knew to be 
rather better than most of his class, and I hope he 
got his money when the next pay-day came. But I 
sadly pondered over the state of Spain, administered 
on a system which poisons every limb of the body 
politic and makes it almost impossible for the 
local authorities to pay their workers and at the 
same time meet the demands of the blood-suckers 
who live without working, while they pull the 
strings that make the office-holders dance to their 

In a country where politics permeate and pollute 
everything it is not easy to keep clear of them, but 
I have heard many little anecdotes of the King and 
Queen which fortunately are free from that taint ; 
and if most of them relate to Seville, my excuse 


must be that most of my life in Spain has been spent 
in that city. 

About a mile outside the town there is a large 
expanse of meadow land alongside the Guadalquivir, 
known as the Tablada, which has played a part many 
times in Andalucian history. 

Here grazed the long-horned Tartessian cattle 
mentioned in the last chapter. Here Julius Caesar 
reviewed the native militia when the natives of 
Hispalis enlisted under his banner after refusing to 
open their gates to Varro, the lieutenant of Pompey. 
Here the offspring of Witiza, the last legitimate 
King of the Visigoths, grew rich as they cultivated 
the fertile plain and built ships to carry on that 
profitable trade with the East which made Ishbiliyah 
rich under the rule of Witiza's descendants, who 
amicably intermarried with Arab princes and ruled 
the land under nominal subjection to the Sultans of 
Cordova. Here the Northmen, ten centuries ago, 
after sailing up the river, were repulsed when they 
tried to set fire to the town. Here Saint Fernando 
set up his camp when he besieged Seville in 1248 
and spent a year and a half in the vain endeavour 
to effect an entrance through the imperishable walls 
which were first built somewhere about the time that 
Minos brought bull-fighting into fashion. 

True the Carthaginians conquered Tharsis, sacked 
and destroyed the city of their rivals the Greco- 
Tartessians (who in recent centuries had twice pos- 
sessed themselves of Cadiz), and even deprived 
Tharsis of its name, adding it to that of Cadiz by 
way of an extra jewel in the Gaditanian crown. But 


the encircling wall defied their vengeance, and 
although they may have made a breach here and 
there they could not destroy it, for the "cob" of 
pre-Eoman Spain is as hard as stone, and luckily for 
posterity the Carthaginians did not know the uses 
of dynamite. 

Unless aided from within, none of her enemies 
ever got into Seville until the walls fell into dis- 
repair. Even Marshal Soult would hardly have 
found the siege of Seville such a farce as he did, but 
for the ruinous condition into which Spanish neglect 
had allowed the fortifications to decline. True he 
did not have to encamp on Tablada to starve the 
town into surrender, as did Saint Fernando, but the 
inhabitants had time to hide a good many of their 
treasures, artistic and other, in the subterranean 
vaults and galleries which have existed since Tharsis 
was built, before the French general battered down 
their gates. 

The plain of Tablada is now a busy place, for 
right across it a great canal is in course of construc- 
tion, which, coupled with a further deepening of the 
channel of the river, will open Seville, some fifty 
miles inland, to steamers of over 10,000 tons and 
make it the principal port in Spain, except perhaps 

But part of this plain is devoted to sport of 
different sorts, and here a polo ground is laid out 
when the Court comes to Seville. Thus here, as in 
Moguer, my little anecdotes are linked to a thread 
of history, and this long digression has more object 
than at first appears. 


A certain old man had been appointed gatekeeper 
to the entrance to the Tablada sports ground, because 
his son, a torero, had been killed in a bull-fight and 
the bulls destined to die in the Seville ring are 
always enclosed in a field at Tablada a day or two 
before the fight. He was a conscientious old man 
and never deserted his post, even when all the town 
turned out to receive the King and Queen on their 
arrival from Madrid. They had an exceptionally 
enthusiastic reception that year, because King 
Alfonso had recently granted a large piece of ground 
from the Alcazar gardens to give access, light, and 
air to a poor quarter packed away behind the lofty 
walls of the palace ; and it was a good deal of a 
sacrifice on the part of the old man to go out to 
Tablada at the usual time instead of shouting Vivas 
with his friends at the station first : but he had his 
reward in a little -expected shape. 

A few days after the arrival of the Court, word 
was sent to our friend that he must be extra careful 
to admit no unauthorised persons to the enclosure, 
because their Majesties would be driving out in the 
course of the afternoon to see the polo ground pre- 
paratory to a match fixed for the next day. So 
when a young man whom he did not know galloped 
up, slightly dishevelled from riding fast in a stiff 
wind, the gatekeeper flatly refused to open the gate, 
saying in explanation that the King and Queen were 

" Do you know the King ? " inquired the rider. 

" No ; nor the Queen either," answered the old 
man, " and I only wish I did, for my grandchildren 


plague the life out of me every day asking whether 
I have seen her and whether she is as beautiful as 
everybody says." 

" Well, now you will be able to tell them," said 
the horseman, " for here she comes." 

Up drove the Queen, and the old man thereupon 
became aware that his interlocutor as of course my 
readers have guessed was the King himself, for he 
proceeded to tell her of the conversation in a way 
that made her laugh heartily. 

" And now that you have seen the Queen, what 
shall you tell your grandchildren ? Is she as beauti- 
ful as everybody says ? " asked the King in the best 
of humours, for, as all the world knows, nothing 
pleases him more than these spontaneous evidences 
of the admiration bestowed on his wife. 

" More, more, a thousand times more," stammered 
the old man, quite abashed. 

The royal cortege waited while the Queen asked 
about the children, how many there were, what were 
their ages, and why they lived with their grandfather. 
And on hearing how they had been orphaned and 
were dependent on his modest earnings at the gate, 
the King gave him a bank-note which could not 
have been less than twenty-five pesetas, for that is 
the smallest paper money, and may have been more 
telling him to let the children have a feast of 
cakes and chocolate by which to remember the 

It is pretty to see the real affection inspired by 
this brilliant young couple even in the humblest of 
their entourage. 


While the piece of ground given to the town was 
being cut off from the palace gardens, there was for 
a week or more a long space by the new road which 
was open to the world at large, for although the 
work was pressed on with all speed, a high and 
strong wall had to be built, and that could not be 
run up in a moment. It was January, and very 
cold for Seville, and one day when I walked round 
the gardens I missed the oldest of the gardeners, 
who with his chubby, cheerful daughter are particular 
friends of mine. 

It appeared that old Toro was crippled with a 
serious chill, and could only just hobble across from 
his cottage to the place where the building was 
going on, where he was acting as watchman until 
the new wall was finished. 

"How has he managed to get ill just now?" I 
asked, for he was a sturdy old fellow whom no 
amount of work ever seemed to tire. 

" It is because he has been up for several nights, 
keeping guard over there," explained his daughter. 
" The Town Council put on two extra policemen, 
but my father thought they were not enough to 
make sure that no bad characters got in in the dark, 
for it is a long piece of road as you see, and he was 
not going to have bad characters in His Majesty's 
garden if he could help it." 

" Well done, Toro," said I ; " I know how loyal 
he is to the King, and I hope he will get a handsome 
tip for his extra care." 

" Oh no, he didn't do it for that, it is purely 
voluntary ; and anyhow he won't get anything, 


because the Senor Marque's (the Governor of the 
Alcazar) doesn't know anything about it. You may 
be sure my father is not going to tell him. And 
please, Dona Elena, don't say anything to my father 
about it, for he would be angry with me for telling 
you. He feels he is only doing his duty." 

One admires the King whose kindness to his 
employe's secures such unselfish affection, and one 
admires the high ideal of duty which leads an old 
man nearer seventy than sixty to stop out of doors 
all night for a week at a stretch to guard his royal 
master's garden. I do not know if Toro's devotion 
ever reached the King's ears, but I fear not, for the 
last time I saw chubby Enriqueta she was in tears 
because, owing to extensive alterations in that same 
garden, the house she and her father had lived in 
for so many years was to be pulled down and they 
had to seek a new abode outside of the precincts. 

She cheered up, however, as I led her back to 
talk about the royal family, always her favourite 
subject of conversation. 

She adores the little Prince of Asturias, and 
related with pride how she had long ago heard him 
talking in English to his pony. " He was hardly 
four years old, and yet he could already talk in a 
language I did not understand ! " 

But her most cherished recollection relates to a 
day of alarms and excursions when, owing to some 
political crisis, the Court left Seville at a few hours' 
notice, a day or two earlier than had been intended. 

" I have never been employed inside the palace," 
said Enriqueta, "only to wash table linen and such- 


like here in our own laundry. But that day every 
one was so busy that we were all called to help with 
the packing. There are certain things that the 
Queen herself directs the packing of, and one of 
her ladies told me to carry a tray of silver and 
spoke rather sharply because I was slow with it, 
being unused to such delicate work. And a voice 
behind said in the kindest tone, 'Don't scold the 
poor girl ; I am sure she is doing her best.' And 
there was the Queen herself, who had come to see 
if the silver was ready ! We would all go down on 
our knees to serve their Majesties, who have kind 
words for everybody, and it is a deep grief to me 
that when we live away from the palace I shall 
have no chance of serving the Queen even by 
washing her table linen." 

I heard a pleasant story of the King at Eonda, 
which he visited a year or so ago on his way from 
a military review at Algeciras. 

The Alcalde, although of noble birth, was very 
old and had not been to Court for so long that he 
had even forgotten how to address his King. He 
began by taking the seat of honour in the carriage, 
and when the King asked him the depth of the 
Tajo that tremendous cleft in the rock through 
which flows the Guadelevin he replied that he 
did not know. The Tajo is the pride and glory 
of all good Eondenos, for the gorge has a sheer 
drop of between five hundred and six hundred feet, 
and great was the indignation of the town when 
the Alcalde's indifference to those all-important local 
statistics became known. 


The King was driven up to the new hotel, the 
Reina Victoria, on the crest of a hill where the Tajo 
opens out into a fertile valley. And here the Alcalde 
seems to have set his royal guest down and left him 
to his own devices, without so much as having a 
glass of wine set before him. 

Later in the day a poor muleteer, toiling up the 
winding path which leads from the flour mills below 
to the "old town" on the top of the hill, was 
accosted by a strange young gentleman who, with 
a companion, was beginning the ascent. No one 
is more responsive to a pleasant greeting than the 
Andalucian peasant, and the arriero at once slipped 
off his donkey in order to carry on the conversation 
more comfortably on foot. 

" I suppose you gentlemen, being strangers, got 
a sight of the King this morning," said he. " They 
say he is very simpdtico, and very good to the 

" I am glad to hear that," said one of the 
strangers, "but haven't you seen him yourself?" 

" Not I," said the arriero ; "I can't afford to 
lose my day's wage merely to enjoy myself, and I 
have no chance of seeing His Majesty unless he 
comes down into the Tajo to look for me." 

They climbed on up the stony zigzag path, and 
presently the young man asked the arriero if the 
donkey could carry his weight, for he found walking 
up the almost vertical hill rather hard work. 

" Of course he could get on the donkey, and 
welcome. Castano often carried two hundredweight 
of potatoes up to the town, and the Senor certainly 


did not weigh that. He, Castano's owner, thought 
very little of climbing the hill several times a day 
when there was a lot of produce to take to market, 
but he could understand that a forastero [stranger 
any one not belonging to the speaker's native place] 
who was not used to the Tajo might find it heavy 

So the gentleman got on the donkey, sitting on 
the panniers with his long legs dangling on each 
side of the beast's neck in true country fashion, and 
in this wise the little procession reached the new 
road recently made through a breach in the town 
walls to give an easy approach for motors. 

Here the " stranger " dismounted and gave a 
gratuity to the arriero which left him speechless 
with surprise and delight, for it was more than a 
week's wages that he found in his hand. 

" Thank you for my pleasant ride," said the 
gentleman. " And you can tell your friends that 
the King not only went to see you at the bottom 
of the Tajo, but was very glad to borrow your 
donkey to come up again." 

When he left that evening King Alfonso is 
reported to have said that he would never forget 
Ronda, for it was the first place he had been to in 
all his life where he was neither offered nor asked 
for anything. 

These are but a few of the many stories we hear 
of the King, the Queen, and their people, but they 
will suffice to show the estimation in which their 
Majesties are held, as well as some of the reasons for 
it. And to end the chapter I will add one incident 


in very modern history, which occurred as recently 
as November 1913, and is significant, it seems to 
me, of the present state of Spanish politics. 

The tax known in France as the octroi and in 
Spain as the consumos, because it is levied on 
nearly everything that is consumed in the use, i.e. 
food and firing, bears heavily on the poor and 
causes more discontent than any other detail of 
local administration. It is very harshly enforced 
in many places, every box, basket, or bundle that 
enters the town being examined with irritating 
and unnecessary thoroughness. Every traveller has 
suffered from it on arrival at the railway station, 
and what is worse, one often sees weary labourers 
forced to unload and reload again their tired donkeys 
on their way home from work, because the con- 
sumista chooses to imagine that some article of food 
may be concealed under a hundredweight of charcoal 
or firewood. I have myself been detained in pouring 
rain at the entrance to a town after a long day on 
the hills, while a surly official poked and prodded 
the panniers of a mule laden with nothing more 
dutiable than ancient tiles, bricks, and such-like 
from my excavations. A shocking accident occurred, 
in connection with this tax, at a seaside village 
where we spent one summer ; for a poor woman 
had put her sleeping infant in the panniers of her 
donkey, and the consumista, assuming without 
inquiry that they contained vegetables, ran the 
baby through with the long sharp spike used for 
testing the contents of a load that is not unpacked 
before them, and killed it on the spot. 


At election times, when the whole country is 
greatly excited, the consumes grievance is always 
prominent, and the popular indignation is apt to 
explode in plain language about the Town Councils, 
for these have a legal right to substitute some other 
local tax for the consumos, if they choose to do so. 
Naturally the poor feel that they, in whose starvation 
wages every farthing is of importance, suffer more 
by a direct tax on food than do the rich, and thus 
it has become a class question, needing extremely 
delicate handling at critical moments. 

In a modest village of two or three thousand 
inhabitants, in the province of Huelva, called 
Bolullos del Candado, feeling about the consumos 
had risen to boiling-point before the 1913 muni- 
cipal elections began, and some mismanagement at 
the Town Hall led the malcontents to believe 
perhaps justifiably that the voting would not be 
fairly conducted. In less than no time some five 
hundred people collected outside the Town Hall, 
and the authorities, alarmed at their menacing 
aspect, locked the doors and ordered the Civil Guard 
to fire on the crowd. Infuriated by being shot at 
when they had done nothing wrong or illegal, the 
people burst in the doors, and a free fight ensued. 
When it ended they were masters of the situation, 
and then they sacked the Town Hall and made a 
bonfire of the furniture in the village square. 

But before a hand was laid on the municipal 
property, one of the " rioters " took down a picture 
of the King, which hung in the council-room, and 
a detachment of them conveyed it to a place of 


safety, while the whole crowd shouted Viva el 

It was the triumph of King Alfonso's personality 
over political passion, and shows, I think, that there 
is not much fear of a popular revolution against the 
Monarchy in Spain. 

J< * 
BH ^ 


Music and the people Arabic instruments The saetas of 
Andalucia The tango in the theatre A working-class 
wedding A drama in a dance The alarmed widow lady 
The Jota of Aragon Our Lady of the Pillar Spaniards in 
Morocco Moors, savage and civilised The Sultan and his 
prisoners The tragedy of the Wolf's Gorge After the 
retreat The salvation of a regiment The power of 
the guitar. 

THE influence of the traditional popular music on 
the life of the people is perhaps in some ways more 
marked here than in any other country. It may 
seem strange to us that this should be the case, for 
Western ears find it difficult to catch the tuneless 
songs, with their curious intervals and lack of ton- 
ality and rhythm, which are another of Spain's 
legacies from the time when her arts and sciences 
were all Oriental. But the strange and to us point- 
less cadences of the Guajiras, Malaguenas, Granadinas, 
Sevillanas, and the rest offer no difficulties to the 
Andalucian, though even cultivated foreign musicians 
find them almost impossible of reproduction. 

During the time of the Moslem rule in Spain, 
Seville was noted for its devotion to music ; so 
much so that in the palmy days of the Khalifate, 
when for nearly a century Seville and Cordova were 

on good terms with each other, it was usual, when 



a rich man died in Cordova, to send his musical 
instruments to Seville for sale. But during the 
Moslem period music was cultivated everywhere in 
Spain, as is shown by treatises on the art existing 
in the library of the Escorial, and by the long list 
of instruments in use among the Arabs, some of 
which, or their counterparts, exist to-day, although 
others are now unknown. Among these were 
flutes made of bone and elegantly decorated with 
carved designs, an almost perfect specimen of which 
was found in a tomb at Malaga, besides fragments 
of two others in an excavation at Seville. Possibly 
the skill of the Andalucian on the military bugle is 
a legacy from those times, as also his fondness for 
drum and fife bands. The drum or tambor is of 
Oriental origin, and I have already described a 
variety of it known as the zambomba. 

It is only to be expected that Arabic music 
should persist in the repertoire of the people of 
Andalucia, as indeed it does. But the most curious 
survival is not in the music of the theatre or the 
home, but in improvised hymns sung in the streets 
by fervent devotees when the images of Our Lord 
and His Mother are carried in procession during 
great religious festivals, such as those of Holy 
Week, Corpus Christi, or the patron saint of the 

The curious fact about these hymns is that while 
the music is Oriental, the name, saeta, is not. It 
means " an arrow " (Lat. sagitta), and the Spanish 
dictionary gives the other meaning, " a short hymn 
to excite devotion," without explanation. I think 


myself it must date from early Christian times, 
before the Arab conquest, for one can hardly 
suppose that the name was applied to these erotic 
outbursts or the hymns themselves composed after 
the reconquest of Seville. One has only to com- 
pare the hymns sung elsewhere at that period with 
the saetas, to see how widely they differ in feeling. 
Here are two lines from a thirteenth-century hymn 
by " Brother Henry of Pisa : 

"Christ divine, Christ of mine, 
Christ the Lord and King of all." 

And here are two lines from a saeta to Our Lady, of 
the traditional style improvised anew every year 
all over Andalucia when the people turn out to see a 
religious procession : 

" Thou art the passion flower 
That opens for thy Son." 

Even more exotic than the words is the ecstasy 
thrown into them by the singer. Suddenly in the 
midst of the reverential silence which falls on the 
laughing, chattering throng as the Santos are 
carried past, rises the pathetic minor cadence with 
which every saeta is prefaced, and as long as the 
hymn lasts those around stand still and listen. 
When it is over (it never extends beyond four or 
five lines) the singer is vigorously applauded, and 
the crowd again becomes mundane. The singer, 
who for a brief moment seemed absolutely lost to 
the things of earth, uplifted into unconsciousness of 
everything save the object of his adoration, his 


head thrown back, his eyes fixed on the image, 
and his whole body tense with pious emotion, comes 
straight down to earth again, and smilingly accepts 
the compliments of his friends. 

The saeta is always a solo : not necessarily 
because it is improvised, for there are a few tradi- 
tional couplets that everybody knows, but because 
no one attempts to sing a saeta unless and until the 
spirit moves him. And, the effusion being so short, 
it is all over before his hearers could catch and 
join in the air, even if they wished to do so. 

It is Dot the least curious feature of these saetas, 
considering how infectious religious emotion has 
always been, that they are never turned into 
choruses by the crowd. Perhaps this is due to the 
Arabic strain in the people, for there seems to be 
nothing to indicate that the Moslem musicians com- 
bined their instruments to produce orchestral effects, 
and at the present time there is singularly little 
feeling for concerted music of any kind in Spain 
compared with other European countries. But the 
sympathy of the crowd with the singer, and stil] 
more with the subject of his song, is shown by the 
breathless hush with which they follow every trill 
and shake of the interminable recitative, so harsh 
and unmusical to our ears, but so beautiful to theirs. 

To turn to another branch of Spanish popular 
music. The so-called Argentine tango is of course 
perfectly familiar here, and the echoes which have 
reached Spain of the animated discussion in the 
English press as to its morality or the reverse have 


caused a good deal of amusement ; for as every one 
here knows, the propriety or otherwise of the tango 
whether " Argentine " or Andalucian depends 
entirely on the performer. It can be a graceful and 
inoffensive drawing-room dance, or it can be made 
an exhibition indecent enough to put a Solomon 
islander to the blush. 

Of its Oriental origin there can, of course, be 
no doubt whatever, apart from the references in 
Spanish or Spanish- Arabic history to its parent the 
zambra, against which the Church more than once 
fulminated, apparently with very little effect. As 
for the improvised verses which in Andalucia 
accompany the tango, they are as changeable as 
are the movements of the dancer ; but among the 
numerous printed couplets in my possession there is 
not a word which could offend the most squeamish. 

I first saw the tango danced by a handsome 
gipsy at a public performance, and I am bound to 
say I never witnessed anything less graceful or more 
disgusting. That was in the early days of our 
residence in Spain, and we had stopped to see the 
end of the entertainment, unaware that everything 
that might offend the proprieties is always reserved 
to the last, and that the offence is likely to be con- 
siderable in the final scenes of a late function. 

It is easy to avoid these when one knows the 
ropes, for theatrical shows are generally of the 
" triple bill " variety, and ladies may attend the 
pieces put on before eleven o'clock quite comfortably. 
Popular comediettas, musical or otherwise, are given 
from night to night at different hours, and varied 


to suit all tastes, being carefully Bowdlerised for the 
earlier audiences. A play called Las Bribonas (The 
Impostors female) had an immense success one 
winter, and I went with a party to a performance 
which began at ten. It was amusing and well acted, 
but there was one scene which was decidedly vulgar, 
although not actually indecent. I happened to 
speak of it afterwards to two English friends who 
had seen it on different occasions. One, who went 
to an eight o'clock performance, found it food for 
babes ; the other unfortunate lady, who in her 
ignorance had gone to the latest one, was almost 
too shocked to talk about it. The tango, it is 
hardly necessary to say, was one of the chief features 
in the doubtful scene in Las Bribonas. 

The most amusing tango I ever saw was danced 
at the wedding of a servant of ours, who had 
politely fixed the day to suit the convenience of 
her Senores, so anxious was she to have the great 
event graced by our presence. 

The mother was a well-to-do laundress who 
rented the whole of the ground floor of a small 
tenement house, and the guests overflowed from the 
patio into the bridal sala and alcoba. The alcoba 
or alcove is a recess curtained off from the sitting- 
room and furnished with a bed, which, in the homes 
of the poor, generally completely fills it. The same 
arrangement also obtains in the houses of the rich, 
and here it is usual for the mistress's bedroom to 
open out of the drawing-room, with the doors 
between thrown back and the curtains drawn aside 
to display the elegant appointments of the marital 


chamber. Although the other bedrooms are often 
lacking in what we should call common necessaries, 
this one is always furnished at least as handsomely 
as its corresponding sola, forming a striking contrast 
to the rest of the private rooms. The explanation 
is that, when a child is born, the mother receives 
her whole family, her husband's relatives, and all 
her intimate friends in her bedroom when the 
infant is twenty-four hours old ; thus this room 
has to be at least as well furnished as the drawing- 
room ; and the same custom prevails in all classes 
of society. It never seems to occur to the doctors 
or any one else that these social celebrations have 
anything to do with the excessive mortality among 
young wives and their babies, and I have often 
been pressed to go and sit with some unfortunate 
acquaintance, seriously ill after a bad confinement, 
when I have called to inquire for her and her child, 
on the ground that she had had only a few callers 
that day and as she was very weak my company 
would cheer her up. 

The alcoba of Carolina, the laundress' daughter, 
just held the bedstead and a table with her Santos 
a chromo-lithograph of a Murillo Virgin, flanked 
by a St. Anthony of Padua and a " San Juan de 
Dios," before which were placed vases of artificial 
flowers and, on this great occasion, a couple of 
lighted candles. All the rest of the bedroom 
furniture was in the sola. Here we were invited 
by the bride to drink Manzanilla, and as the guests 
of honour we (more fortunate than at Carmencita's 
wedding) each had a glass to ourselves. It was 


all clean and bright and gay, and when we went 
out into the patio Carolina's girl friends began 
dancing seguidillas. 

It was a pretty sight to see them dancing under 
the February sky, with a brilliant moon irradiating 
the old courtyard and blending its beams with those 
of an electric bulb hanging from the crazy balcony, 
which was all the light a generous landlord provided 
for his twenty or thirty tenants. The thrumming 
of the single guitar was completely drowned by 
the hand-clapping and foot-stamping with which 
the spectators accompanied the dancers, but we did 
not miss it. Indeed, it would be a powerful instru- 
ment that could have made itself heard above all 
that rhythmical clatter. Personally I find the 
palmas, as this hand-clapping is called, very trying, 
for the noise is overwhelming ; but that is because 
I have no Eastern blood in my veins. To Anda- 
lucians of whatever class, noise of any kind seems 
to be sheer delight. 

Things gradually grew more lively as the slight 
restraint caused by our arrival wore off, although 
the guests were always perfectly well-mannered and 
decorous ; and presently Carolina came to tell me 
that Juanillo Carrera, a famous singer and dancer, 
would perform the tango in her mother's kitchen, 
if the Senores would care to see him. 

" Why would he not dance in the patio ? " I 
asked, for I was enjoying the picture made by the 

" Oh, that would not suit the girls, who wanted 
to go on dancing themselves. But if we would step 


into the kitchen and would kindly not mind standing 
for a few minutes, Juanillo would dance on the 
table, so that the senora viuda (the widow lady) 
who came with the Senora, and so much likes 
Andalucian dancing, would see him to the best 

Juanillo was a thin pock-marked man of forty 
or so, without a redeeming feature in his face save 
a pair of brilliant deep-set black eyes. He wore a 
striped cotton blouse and trousers with a black sash 
wound many times round his waist, and bright 
yellow boots with long pointed toes. I thought he 
looked an unfortunate specimen of the Andalucian 
dancer, but I soon found that appearances were 
deceptive in this as in so many other cases. 

The widow lady, although no longer in her first 
youth, was tall, handsome, and very well dressed. 
She had been for days past expressing her desire 
to see this tango of which she had heard so much 
before she came to Spain, and I am afraid she rather 
hoped to be shocked by it. I saw the moment she 
came in that Juanillo admired her, and heard him 
remark to Carolina that she was guapisima, meaning 
extremely attractive. Carolina rapped him over the 
knuckles, unaware that I was watching, and told 
him to behave himself and remember that the tango 
was to be performed for distinguished ladies and 
must have nothing of the corral (low-class tenement 
house) about it ; but I rather wondered what was 
going to happen. 

He sprang on to the table with the graceful 
agility of a cat, and began the tapping with one 


foot which prefaces all these dances, his eyes mean- 
while fixed on the widow, who as yet had not 
realised that she was his objective. Then suddenly, 
regardless of the din of voices, palmas, and stamping 
in the patio, he burst into song. 

I could not catch all the words, but I heard 
enough to grasp their tenor. The rascal was ad- 
dressing a passionate declaration of love to the 
American widow ; and now his cavernous eyes began 
to light up, and even she, unconscious as she was 
of the meaning of his song, realised that he was 
looking very hard at her. And when he began 
the dance not only she but every one else in the 
room was made fully aware that the entire perform- 
ance was wholly and solely addressed to her. I 
never saw a cleverer pantomime of devotion, jealousy, 
scorn, pride, humility, and final despair than the 
impudent scamp contrived to act by his movements 
in this tango. And all without moving from the 
middle of the kitchen-table on which he danced 
indeed, if he had not kept to the dead centre of it 
he would inevitably have come down with a crash, 
for it did not measure over three feet any way. 
The whole thing was dramatic to a degree : one's 
attention was caught at the outset by the expression 
of his eyes, and he never allowed his hold on us 
to relax for an instant. His ugly face, shabby 
dress, and hideous yellow boots all fell into the 
picture, which was none the less effective because 
the only light was a flaring petroleum lamp held 
up by the bridegroom, whose delight in his friend's 
performance caused him to wave it about dangerously 


in his efforts to keep it, like the lime-light at a 
theatre, always on the dancer's face. 

" I never saw anything so horrible in my life," 
murmured the widow in my ear when the tango 
came to an end. " Do let us go ; I am quite 
frightened ! The man looks as if he could commit 
a murder. No more tangos for me, thank you ! I 
felt as if he might stick a knife into me at any 

She was really frightened, and, humour not being 
her strong point, I felt that it would be useless to 
try to make her see the joke of it. Dramatic ex- 
pression comes naturally to the Andalucian, and I 
knew that Juanillo had taken her as the heroine of 
his pantomime simply because she was the most 
noticeable member of our party, expecting her to be 
as gratified as a Spanish Senorita would have been at 
the compliment. During the remainder of her stay 
the lady ceased from troubling me with demands to 
be taken to see the local dances ; but when her 
nerves had recovered from the shock it became 
evident that not the least pleasing of her recollec- 
tions of Spain would be the little comedy of admira- 
tion played by Juanillo. In that version of the 
tango there was nothing to bring the blush of shame 
to the cheek of modesty, but I imagine that it is not 
quite what is danced in London or Paris. 

Another dance with its accompanying song, 
which is known, at any rate by repute, outside 
Spain, is the Jota of Aragon, the music of which 
does not seem to be of Oriental origin. No one 


attempts to decide when it first came into being, but 
the probability is that, like the "war dance" of the 
Basques, it dates from prehistoric times, when 
women were won not by favour but by force. Be 
this as it may, the Jota now is the hymn of Aragon 
as well as her national dance, and has the same 
extraordinary religious influence over the Aragonese 
as the saeta has over the Andalucians. Fully to 
appreciate its swing and dash one must hear it sung 
by a native of the province, but wherever and by 
whomsoever performed it sets the blood dancing 
when the refrain bursts out 

" A la jota, jota, (Sing to the jota, 

Que viva AragSn Long live Arag6n 

Y la Pilarica And the Pilarica 

De mi coraz6n" Of my heart.) 

The patron saint of Zaragoza, the capital of 
Arag6n, is Our Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Senora 
del Pildr), who is said to have come down from 
heaven when St. James was converting Spain, to 
encourage him in his holy labours. She sat, so the 
story goes, on a pillar while he said Mass before 
her, and he, as a good saint should, founded the 
Cathedral of Zaragoza on that spot, with the pillar 
of Our Lady as its shrine. 

Zaragoza has two Cathedrals, one dedicated to 
N. S. del Pilar, and the other to Our Lord of the 
Seo (Aragonese for a cathedral church). The people 
will assure you that that of the Pilar is much the 
older of the two, regardless of their architectural 
styles, and it is quite possible that the black image 


of Our Lady is older than anything in the Seo, 
although when it comes to relics of the Mozarabic 
Church in Spain it is never wise to dogmatise about 
dates. Indeed, there are cases in which popular 
tradition has received material confirmation from 
unexpected sources long after it had been pro- 
nounced mere fantasy by the learned. The Cathe- 
dral of the Pilar, or as her adoring Aragonese love 
to call her, the Pilarica, is quite modern, whereas 
parts of the Seo date from before the twelfth century. 
But the actual image of Our Lady of the Pillar, with 
the column on which it stands, are of immemorial 
antiquity. The column had been so worn away by 
the kisses of the faithful that it is now protected by 
a case of silver and crystal. One may imagine the 
many centuries of devotion which must have gone 
by ere a stone could be thus impressed by the touch 
of human lips alone. 

A singular performance takes place in Zaragoza 
every year on the 12th of October, the festival of 
the Pilarica, in which certain strange figures called 
gigantes y cabezudos take a prominent part. The 
giants represent a man, a woman, and a negro (not 
a Moor), while the big-heads (cabezudos), worn by 
men of ordinary height, seem to have no special 
meaning. I have tried in vain to discover the origin 
of this festival. It must date from before the 
reconquest of Zaragoza (which took place about 1 120), 
for the negro would certainly have been a Moor had 
it been introduced after Zaragoza was incorporated 
with the dominions of the King of Aragon, but no 
convincing record exists. A replica of the Pilarica 


is borne through the streets, and the gorgeous pro- 
cession of the Cathedral Chapter, the military, civil, 
and municipal authorities, all in their gala dress, 
the town band, and the devout of both sexes, carry- 
ing candles, is wound up by these singular survivals 
of some forgotten and probably pagan festivity. 
One of the fascinations of Spain is this intimate 
connection between the present and the past, with 
its picturesque and quite unintelligible jumble of the 
sacred and profane. 

It is only natural that the love of the Pilarica, 
which is so bound up with the religion of the 
Aragonese, should colour every action of their daily 
life ; and an incident that took place during the war 
in Morocco in 1909 is a good illustration of this. 

The Aragonese are good fighting men, and make 
excellent soldiers, although it is true that the same 
may be said of all the Spaniards. But there are 
times in every war when the martial spirit droops 
before human pain and the sorrow of seeing comrades 
cut down in the flower of their youth. Such a day 
came to the Spanish troops at Melilla when the 
fatal attack upon the mountain of Gurugu was 
made, to which I have already referred in connection 
with mourning customs. 

So little was heard about it in England at the 
time, owing to the rigorous censorship, that I may 
be excused for briefly relating what I heard from 
one of those engaged in it, who was himself severely 

When the trouble with Morocco began, the 
Spanish Government made the common mistake of 


underestimating the strength of the enemy. They 
had to deal with scattered tribes, some of them 
barbarians of the most savage description, others 
gentle, comparatively civilised, and quite ready to 
take advantage of the commercial and educational 
facilities afforded by contact with European nations. 
Although they have no connection with the 
Pilarica and the Jota of Aragon, it may be of interest 
to tell two little stories which illustrate the wide 
difference between these two classes of Moors, for 
the facts speak for themselves. 

In the summer of 1913 a Spanish gun-boat, the 
General Concha, went ashore in a fog on the Moorish 
coast, and a hostile tribe attacked the wreck. They 
shot down some of the sailors who tried to swim 
ashore, and after a plucky defence led by a junior 
officer, the captain and the senior lieutenant having 
been killed by the first volley, they got on board, 
looted the vessel, and took the survivors prisoners. 
To make matters worse, they had begun by pre- 
tending that they belonged to a friendly tribe, and 
thus had managed to get within close range of the 
boat without opposition, opened fire from the cliffs 
above, and shot down the two officers and several 
men before the crew could get the guns to work. 

Naturally the gravest fears were entertained for 
the fate of the prisoners, but two or three weeks 
later it became known that through the influence of 
a friendly chief they had been taken to the house of 
one of his friends, where they were well treated and 
eventually aided to escape to a small boat hidden 
on the beach a few miles from their prison. The 


friendly Moors, besides guiding them to the boat, 
helped to row them out to a Spanish man-of-war 
which had been sent to bombard the coast villages. 
Not only had they been provided with the necessaries 
of life as long as they remained with the friendly 
Moors, but the women had done their best to cure 
the wounded, and thanks to them, only one a case 
for amputation failed to recover. And the Moors 
carried those who were unable to walk some twelve 
miles across the enemy's country to the boat, 
although they well knew that there would be short 
shrift for them and for the prisoners were the flight 

So much for the "civilised" Moors. Now for 
the reverse of the medal. 

A Spanish officer told me that he had himself 
seen the following incident, which was only one out 
of many that occurred during the eight years that 
he was quartered at Ceuta, whence in times of peace 
his work took him to various parts of the country. 

The father of the present Sultan, who was 
opposed to any sort of change in his methods of 
government, used to make an annual " royal pro- 
gress " from Fez to Morocco, and picked troops went 
before him to remove any possible source of danger 
to the monarch. He paid these men a dollar for a 
live prisoner and two for a dead one, so, said my 
friend, " you may imagine that more were brought 
in dead than alive." Any one who could be even 
remotely suspected of disaffection was promptly 
beheaded and his property confiscated. In a word, 
the " royal progress " was in fact a murderous raid, 


the loot of which paid for the upkeep of the troops 
and saved some collecting of extra taxes. 

On one occasion my friend, in his official capacity, 
met the Sultan at a place where two hundred 
prisoners were marshalled in a row, each with a 
wooden collar round his neck, tied with a rope to 
that of the next man. As the Sultan rode up a 
poor woman flung herself on the ground before him, 
and clasped his horse's knees with such force that it 
could not move, crying that her son who was among 
the prisoners was innocent, and imploring that the 
collar be taken off his neck. The Sultan turned to 
the two negro executioners who accompanied him 

"Take off her son's collar," he said, "and his 
head with it, and give them to the woman." 

And this was done on the spot. 

" You will understand," said the officer who told 
me the story, " why we who have seen such things 
feel that we cannot abandon our civilising mission 
in Morocco, although it may be years before we get 
any material return for the blood and money it is 
costing us now. But," he went on to say, " every 
year we are making more friends among the tribes, 
and since 1909 we have been getting on very hope- 
fully with our Spanish-Arabic schools and hospitals 
and colleges of agriculture and commerce, while our 
native troops are already the pride of our army in 

But to return to the Jota, after this long digres- 
sion. In the summer of 1909 things were going 
very badly indeed, and the Government, true to the 


time-honoured Spanish rule of directing a distant 
war from the arm-chairs of Ministerial offices in 
Madrid, ordered the General in command to make 
a frontal attack on the Gurugii, the peak which 
towers over Melilla. This was intended partly to 
dislodge, once for all, the hornet's nest of sharp- 
shooters who were worrying the Spanish garrison, 
but mainly to silence by a brilliant victory the 
growing murmurs of the nation against a campaign 
which popular orators declared to have been begun 
in the interest of a few wealthy capitalists owning 
valuable mines in the immediate neighbourhood of 

The General, Marina, a good officer and able 
strategist, protested in vain. The orders were ex- 
plicit. Public opinion was dangerously excited, and 
a brilliant and decisive action had to be fought at 
once. The attack was accordingly attempted, with 
the result that one of the infantry regiments was 
caught in an ambush, and a whole battalion of the 
Cazadores de las Navas was practically wiped out. 
Considerably over a thousand officers and men of 
that and other regiments fell in the Wolfs Gorge of 
the Gurugii, and so complete was the defeat that for 
three months the bodies of those martyrs to duty 
and a preposterous governmental system could not 
be recovered. 

On the night of the catastrophe the Colonel of 
the Cazadores went to offer what cheer he could to 
the few survivors of his ill-fated regiment. Heart- 
broken himself, he found no words to say to the 
heart-broken men who hardly had spirit enough to 


stand up and salute him half their comrades dead, 
their soldierly pride humbled, their demoralisation 
seemingly beyond repair. But as he stood among 
them, silent and grief-stricken as themselves, he saw 
that one of the men, hardly conscious what he was 
doing, had picked up his guitar and was lightly 
touching the strings. It must here be explained 
that although the Cazadores de las Navas is a 
Catalan regiment, it is mostly recruited in Aragon. 
"A gleam of hope entered my heart," said the 
Colonel, when many days after he related what had 
taken place. " If only he would play loud enough 
to be heard he would save us ; I know what their 
music means to the men of Aragon. I dared not 
speak, I was so afraid of putting him off, for if he 
had known I was there he would have dropped the 
guitar to stand at attention. But he went on, a 
little louder and a little louder, and another man 
took up the air, and then another, until at last all 
the regiment all that was left of it followed suit, 
and all began singing 

"'La Virgen del Pildr dice 
due no quiere moros ni moras, 
Que quiere ser capitana 
De la tropa aragonesa.' 1 

" Very softly they sang at first, as if it were a 
dirge for their dead friends, but when they came to 

J The Virgin of the Pillar says 
That she does not like Moors, 
That she will be the captain 
Of the Aragonese soldiers." 


the chorus their voices rang out as bravely and 
gaily as if all were well with us 

" ' A la jota, jota, 
Que viva Arag6n, 
T la Pilarica 
De mi corazdn.' 

"Then," said the Colonel, "I quietly slipped 
away. They no longer needed consolation from me, 
for they remembered that, whatever they had lost, 
they still had the Pilarica, the beloved of all hearts." 

When the Gurugti was finally taken, an English 
newspaper correspondent commented on the extra- 
ordinary lightness of heart and irresponsible gaiety 
of these Spanish soldiers, saying that he had actually 
seen one of them carrying a guitar under his arm as 
he scrambled up the precipitous slopes that had been 
the scene of disaster three months earlier. The news- 
paper man jumped too hastily to his conclusion, for 
which, however, he may be forgiven, for he could 
hardly know what the Jota, played on the guitar, 
may mean to the men of Aragon. 



Holy Week in Seville What not to see The Blessing of the 
Palms Cathedral dignitaries The Cardinal and the 
children The Dean's smile The Cathedral steps The 
Entry into Jerusalem Light in dark places Mozarabic 
ritual The Display of the Banner Our Lady of the Old 
Time Mozarabic art The Banner of the Menestrales A 
portrait of San Fernando The Roman eagles The Entomb- 
ment The silver shrine and its golden key Wheeled 
traffic forbidden Brotherhoods, rich and poor. 

I SUPPOSE My Spanish Year would be incomplete 
without a chapter about the Holy Week ceremonies 
and the Seville Fair ; but so much has already been 
written on these subjects from the tourist's point 
of view that, if I am to say anything about them, 
I must try to describe some characteristic features 
which are apt to pass more or less unnoticed. 

Every one knows that during Holy Week 
numerous Brotherhoods and Guilds pervade the 
streets of Seville and other Andalucian towns in 
procession, the original intention of which was to 
show images representing events in the Passion of 
Our Lord, in order to bring home to the illiterate 
people the tragedy of the Crucifixion. And every 
one who sees these processions in Seville remarks 
on the artistic merit of many of the images, the 
magnificent dresses, and the picturesque effects pro- 



duced in the streets and in the Cathedral by the 
innumerable candles flickering round the platforms 
on which the images are borne. 

These are the common-places of Holy Week in 
Seville. They catch the eye of every visitor who 
has the slightest knowledge of or feeling for art ; 
but long before the week is out, those who come 
merely to see something new are sick to death 
of the eternal repetition of the same thing the 
" Brothers " or the " Nazarenes " in their voluminous 
robes and tall peaked hoods, the brass bands, the 
Civil Guard, the first paso draped with velvet or 
satin, and surrounded with silver candelabra and 
vases of flowers, with an image of Our Lord in the 
centre ; more Brothers or Nazarenes, more music, 
more Civil Guards, and then the paso of Our Lady, 
which closes every procession save some which were 
instituted before the Immaculate Conception of the 
Virgin became a dogma of the Roman Church. 

When one has seen between twenty and thirty 
of the pasos, all creeping along at a snail's pace, 
with a pause every few yards for the bearers to rest 
and the people to admire, one does begin to get a 
thought weary of certain features in them. But we 
who know Seville have learnt what to see and what 
to avoid, and we are careful not to exhaust ourselves 
physically and mentally by attempting to watch the 
slow progress of a dozen pasos past the same point on 
the same day, for indeed the processions are but one 
feature in the manifold ceremonies of Holy Week, 
and if you set about it the right way you may vary 
your emotions almost every hour of the day. 


Therefore I, who have often felt sorry to see my 
compatriots enduring the maximum of fatigue to see 
the minimum of what is most interesting in these 
curious survivals of the early Church, will try to 
indicate a few incidents in the long programme of 
ecclesiastical ceremonies which do not figure in the 
official account of what are incongruously described 
as las fiestas de Semana santa. 

The Blessing of the Palms on Palm Sunday is 
one of the most beautiful of all the Cathedral 
ceremonies. I go early not later than 8 a.m., 
and as much earlier as I find convenient, and when 
the early Mass is over I go across to the Columbus 
monument in front of the south door, and there get 
a perfect view of the procession on its stately march 
down the long aisle to the door of San Miguel. 
First goes the bearer of the Cathedral cross, its 
brass gleaming above the curious round frame here 
used to drape the parish crosses with the ritual 
colour for the day. Then follow the minor clergy in 
black soutanes and stiffly starched rochets with flow- 
ing sleeves ; the censer-bearers in beautiful dalmatics 
of old brocade, swinging chased silver censers worthy 
of a place in a museum ; the choir boys in scarlet 
soutanes and white rochets ; the beneficed clergy 
recently granted, as a special favour to the Cardinal- 
ate of Seville, permission to wear red silk linings to 
their black silk cloaks (capa cordl) ; the portly 
canons in purple silk, the officiant and his servers 
in magnificent embroidered vestments centuries old, 
and then, supported by the Dean and the Arch-priest 
of the diocese, the Cardinal- Archbishop. 


He is already very stout although hardly past 
middle life, but his unwieldy figure is counter- 
balanced by a strong face with a powerful jaw and 
friendly humorous grey eyes, and he looks magnifi- 
cent in his white fur hood and robe of scarlet silk, 
with a train four yards long, borne behind him by 
two of the Seises, whose history has already been 
related. He has only been here four years, and 
came after a long interregnum due to two 
sudden deaths in the episcopate, but the way in 
which he has stirred up the diocese is surprising. 
The Cathedral music, from being the worst, now 
ranks among the best in Spain, the services begin 
punctually instead of at any hour that happened to 
be convenient, and above all, he has put a stop to 
the illicit sale by parish priests, monks, and nuns of 
objects of artistic value belonging to their churches. 
Formerly a brisk trade was carried on in such, but 
our energetic Cardinal has had every picture, carv- 
ing, and church ornament in his diocose inventoried, 
and now not so much as a painted tile can be 
touched without a licence from the palace. 

Yet he is a kindly man, this vigorous prelate. 
I once followed in his train at a charitable affair in 
which I had the privilege of presenting to him some 
twenty small children of the working class whom I 
had put into fancy dress, to their and my own great 
enjoyment. And for every child the Cardinal, as 
he gave them his ring to kiss, had a smile and a 
kind and a witty remark on their costume or the 
historical character it represented ; so that all the 
little faces beamed behind him as he made his progress 


round the hall where they stood to attention. Kiss- 
ing episcopal rings is hardly in my line, but Cardinal 
Almaraz's kindness to the children always makes me 
remember my share in that ceremony with pleasure. 

Next in gorgeousness of vestment to the Cardinal 
comes the Dean, a most courteous gentleman not 
much over forty, and blessed, like his Bishop, with a 
strong sense of humour. On one memorable Palm 
Sunday, as the procession passed the Columbus 
monument, the Dean caught sight of me standing 
there with a tall English girl, whose broken Castilian 
he had been helping out at a dinner party at our 
house a few weeks before, and his eyes began to 
twinkle and his fingers instinctively went up to give 
us an Andalucian salute. He recovered his gravity 
in an instant, and with great presence of mind con- 
verted his salute into a motion which the public 
would take for a blessing. But the deed had been 
done. When next we met outside the Cathedral we 
thanked him for his " blessing," and now he can 
never look at us in the crowd during a procession with- 
out a twinkle in his eyes and a visible compression of 
his lips, lest he should indecorously smile at us again. 

The attitude of a Spanish congregation during 
the Mass is remarkably reverent compared with the 
behaviour in many foreign Cathedrals : one really 
finds here an atmosphere of sincere devotion. But 
the processions are regarded from a different stand- 
point. The dignitaries there are in the midst of the 
crowd, and the crowd, although perfectly respectful, 
does its best to win a sign of recognition from its 
friends and acquaintances in the long lines of clergy, 


choir-men, and monocillos (little monkeys), as the 
singing-boys are familiarly called. 

The door of San Miguel opposite to the College, 
or cloister of that name, in which dwelt all the 
Mozarabic priests who still survived when San 
Fernando entered Seville is thrown wide open as 
the procession approaches, and a wonderful shimmer- 
ing effect of light and shade is produced when the 
waving palms borne by the clergy move out from 
the dimness of the Cathedral into the blazing sun- 
shine of the street. But I never follow the palms ; 
one only gets lost in the crowd, and misses all the 
best of the picture. As soon as the last gleam of the 
Cardinal's scarlet disappears through the door, I turn 
round and go to meet the procession on its way back. 

One has time to go out by the door of the Bells 
(campanulas), where formerly bells were rung to 
call loiterers to Mass, and walk round to that of los 
Palos so-called because it once opened on to a 
grove of trees (poles, palos, now long cut down) 
getting a good view of the procession as it comes 
round outside the Orange Court on the broad terrace 
raised by six steps above the level of the road. This 
terrace is a relic of the half-century during which 
the ancient Visigothic Cathedral was converted to 
Moslem uses. Every Mozarabic church that was 
used as a mosque has a raised terrace on one or 
more sides, like that of the mosque of Cordova. It 
was originally intended to accommodate the over- 
flowing congregations during Ramadan, but after 
the reconquest the Christians allowed it to degener- 
ate into a meeting-place for merchants to transact 


business, like the money-changers in the Temple, 
until the scandal became too great, and the Casa 
Lonja (now containing the archives of the Indies) 
was built in the seventeenth century. The terrace 
forms a fine vantage-ground for those who want to 
see the Holy Week processions, the recent widening 
of the Calle Canovas del Castillo giving an uninter- 
rupted view from the door of San Miguel, where they 
enter the Cathedral, right away to the Town Hall. 

Just as the Palm Sunday procession reaches the 
door of the Palos it is closed, and the whole proces- 
sion comes to a stop, while the Master of the 
Cathedral Ceremonies raps on it three times. This, 
with the palms and olive branches strewed before 
the Cardinal, represents the entry of Our Lord into 
Jerusalem. A verse is intoned and then in the 
midst of a dead silence the doors slowly open, and 
the many -coloured procession with its waving palms 
fades into the twilight within, while women and 
children try to secure an olive twig, for they, like 
the palms, are blessed. A palm branch hung on the 
balcony protects the house from lightning, and the 
olive branch brings peace and contentment if carried 
home and placed before your " Saints." 

Palm Sunday evening is devoted to the first of 
the street processions. These are late ones, reaching 
the stands of reserved seats in front of the Town 
Hall when night is falling. It is wise to get one's 
first impressions from the Sunday evening pasos 
after their candles are lighted, so that the images of 
the Passion and of Our Lady convey the beautiful 
symbolical idea of carrying with them light into 


dark places. Formerly all the street lamps were 
extinguished on the line of march, so that the way 
of the people was literally lighted by their " Saints " ; 
but that was a long time ago, and now we can only 
imagine how impressive the old custom was, from 
the glow that floods the street of Sierpes before the 
procession itself comes into sight. 

It is impossible to compress into a single chapter 
all the interesting and beautiful ceremonies of Holy 
Week in this Cathedral, apart from their historic 
aspect. Seville does not retain the actual Mozarabic 
or Visigothic ritual in any of her chapels, as does 
Toledo, for when San Fernando got here the Popes 
for over a century and a half had been trying to 
suppress the rite of the Church, which from force of 
circumstances had been so long cut off from and 
almost independent of Kome, and therefore the rite 
was not retained after the reconquest. But it is 
clear that the sainted king permitted the faithful 
Mozarabic priests of the College of San Miguel to 
take a leading part in the offices of the transformed 
mosque when it once more became the Cathedral of 
Seville, for the Oriental survivals we see to-day could 
never have been introduced in the middle of the thir- 
teenth century by priests and bishops from Castile. 

Many such survivals are mere details, more 
interesting to ecclesiastical archaeologists than to 
laymen. But others are so striking that no visitor 
of intelligence should miss them. 

One of these is the so-called " Rending of the 
White Veil " after the nine o'clock Mass on the Wed- 
nesday of Holy Week. This is represented by drawing 


apart immense curtains of beautiful old white tafe- 
tdn, a fine soft silk of the kind worn by Moslem 
princes when Seville was celebrated for her manu- 
facture of velvets, brocades, and satins, all of which 
were lined with this filmy tafetdn. No one knows 
exactly why the White Veil is rent on this day, 
though I am told that it is another heritage from 
the Mozarabs. It is torn from the rod on which it 
hangs, so that when divided one curtain falls in a 
heap on either side of the altar, whence they are 
drawn into the sacristy by the Seises. 

At 3.30 on Tuesday in Holy Week we have 
what is known as the Display of the Banner, another 
ceremony foreign to the ritual of Rome. Two priests 
kneel on the altar steps, while a third waves over 
them a voluminous banner of the same soft gauzy 
tafetdn as the White Veil. The banner is of a dark 
green, so dark as to appear black in the dim Cathedral, 
where all the painted windows are shrouded with 
black curtains during this season of penitence. 
Formerly the two priests used to prostrate them- 
selves ; now they only kneel. No one can explain the 
ceremony, which takes place four times in all, from the 
eve of Passion Sunday to Holy Tuesday, but it is 
supposed to have some connection with the Mozarabic 
Virgen de la Antigua, a twelfth-century fresco in the 
chapel of that name, whose history is worth relating. 

When the Almohade Moors took Seville and 
appropriated the old Gothic Cathedral for their new 
mosque, this mural painting of Our Lady was left in 
its place. Alfonso x. in his Cdntigas de la Virgen 
Maria (Hymns of the Virgin) says that more than 


once the fanatic Almohades wished to destroy the 
image, but such a glory shone from it as to dazzle 
their eyes and they retreated, afraid to touch it. 
The truth probably was that the Almohade ruler, 
who was dependent on Sevillian artists for his 
alterations and additions to his mosque and his 
Alcazar, 1 did not venture to risk a revolt among his 
Mozarab subjects, for the Christian community was 
always more numerous here than anywhere else in 
Moslem Spain. Therefore, although he appropriated 
or perhaps bought the old Cathedral, as Abderrah- 
man i. had done with that of St. Vincent in Cordova, 
he left this venerated image and its chapel to the 
Christians, who made an entrance to it from the 
street and closed the former door, which otherwise 
would communicate with the mosque. 

It is related in the same Cdntigas that when 
San Fernando was besieging Seville, he was mir- 
aculously admitted one night through the Jerez 
gate the nearest to the Cathedral into the Chapel 
of N'ra Senora de la Antigua (Our Lady of the Old 
Time), and being discovered there by the Moors he 
hardly escaped with his life. Tradition suggests that 
Our Lady of the Old Time was walled up after this 
by the Moslems, probably from indignation at what 
must have seemed to them treachery on the part of the 
Mozarabs within the walls, for they alone could have 
admitted the Christian king into their own chapel. 
The city surrendered not many weeks later, and 
there is at present nothing to show when the picture 
was uncovered. But reference is made to it from 
1 Seville under Islam was always noted for its fine buildings. 


the thirteenth century onwards, and my own im- 
pression is that the chapel was reopened immediately, 
for there had certainly not been time to forget its 
situation, as happened elsewhere in the case of 
images buried to save them from desecration. 

In the sixteenth century the fresco was removed 
from the wall on which it was painted to the altar 
of the present chapel, which had been built to 
receive it. It was at that time unfortunately 
"restored," "renovated," and "beautified" as well 
as removed, as a contemporary account tells us, and 
much of its mediaeval character was thus lost. But 
the Child still has the characteristic round bullet 
head with stiff black curls, which is seen in all the 
Mozarab work in this region, and is in every case so 
curiously inferior in technique to that of the Mother 
that one can only accept it as a type, venerated and 
copied from one generation to another from primitive 
times. The Virgin, on the other hand, as in all the 
work of the twelfth century, is beautiful in technique 
as well as in feature, and her strange drapery with its 
stiff diagonal folds is singularly reminiscent of the 
drapery of some of the Egypto-Tartessian figures 
found in the Cerro de los Santos several years ago, 
and now in the Archaeological Museum at Madrid. 

Long and bitter have been the quarrels of local 
art critics over the period and origin of this fresco, 
but once the history of the Christians of Seville 
under Islam has been made clear, all combines to 
show that Our Lady of the Old Time was here when 
San Fernando came, and that the image was wor- 
shipped by the Mozarabs throughout the Almohade 


occupation. And in the light of present knowledge 
it seems highly probable that the Display of the 
Banner is a reminiscence of some act of humiliation 
imposed on the faithful priests who, even after their 
last Bishop fled in 1239, still lived in the Cloister 
of San Miguel and continued to exercise the rites 
of their religion. The Moors may perhaps have made 
the ceremony a condition of the retention by the 
Christians of their chapel within the precincts of the 
mosque ; and it is by no means impossible that some- 
thing conclusive on the subject may come to light one 
day, when the mass of unexamined documents in the 
Cathedral archives are at length sorted and read. 

Though so little is known about it as yet, the 
interest of this curious Display of the Banner is 
seen to be great when one realises that it is a direct 
link with the Moslem dominion in Seville, taking 
us back six centuries to the time when the splendid 
ritual which now delights the eyes and ears of 
thousands was represented in this ancient basilica 
by a few poor priests who said Mass in the Chapel 
of La Antigua, perhaps at the risk of their lives. 

Most of the remaining ceremonies of Holy Week 
are the same as in Rome and elsewhere, save in 
minor details which need not be described here. 
But the processions in the streets date from the thir- 
teenth century, and we can hardly doubt that they 
too have survived from the early Christian Church. 

San Fernando himself gave a banner with his 
portrait embroidered on it to the Brotherhood of 
the Menestrales (Mechanics : the Guild was of 
working tailors) ; and that too must have existed 


before the reconquest, for the King died only four 
years later, and we are not told that he founded the 
Brotherhood in the interval. Indeed, if he had done 
so it would have been very carefully recorded in 
their annals, as was his gift of the banner. They, 
as the oldest of the Brotherhoods and favoured by 
the King, were given the privilege of watching 
beside his coffin when he died, and they maintained 
their right to this place of honour on the anniversary 
of his death until their Guild dissolved for lack of 
funds not many years since. Another and richer 
Guild tried to oust them two or three centuries 
ago, but the Menestrales went to law and won their 
case. The banner given by San Fernando now 
hangs in a glass case in the church of St. Isidore. 
Very little is left of the portrait, and what little 
there is was hidden in the sixteenth century by an 
embroidered head of Charles v. which was sewn 
over it. This was removed for examination a few 
years ago, and the thirteenth-century portrait was 
found beneath. Although, like the banner of San 
Fernando in the Town Hall, it has been so much 
repaired and restored that very little of the original 
remains, enough can be seen to convince any expert 
in embroidery that it is Mozarabic work of the 
period in question. 

The strongest evidence of the early origin of the 
Brotherhoods lies in the fact that the Roman eagles 
and a standard with S.P.Q.R. are borne in advance 
of every paso, while " Roman soldiers " ride after 
some few of them. These cannot have been "put 
on the stage" in the thirteenth century, for 


illuminated MSS. of that period, including the ex- 
ceedingly valuable contemporary works of Alfonso x., 
all depict sacred characters in the costumes of the 
day. Nor were they introduced in the fourteenth 
century, for there is a missal of that date in which 
the Roman soldiers at the Crucifixion wear the 
dress of the fighting-men of Alfonso XL, and one of 
the men casting lots for the coat of Our Lord is 
dressed in parti-coloured hose with cap and bells, 
like a court jester. 

The consecration of the Holy Oils, the great 
procession with the Host to the "Monument" 
erected at the west end of the Cathedral (over the 
tomb of the Columbus family), the washing of the 
feet of twelve poor men by the Cardinal-Archbishop 
in the Cathedral, the dinner given to them in the 
Archbishop's palace, the Miserere on the night of 
Holy Thursday, the Adoration of the Cross, when 
the clergy and the Dean and Chapter walk barefoot 
round the nave, the consecration of the Paschal 
candle, which weighs about 70 lb., and the Rending 
of the Black Veil, when the Host is returned to the 
high altar all these things are described in the 
programmes hawked about the streets, and only 
one of them calls for notice here. 

This is the ceremony of Holy Thursday, when the 
Host is taken to the " Monument," symbolising the 
burial of Our Lord. In silence the pyx is removed, 
its shrine is left open, and the cloth is dishevelled 
in careless folds across the altar, to show that the 
sacred elements are gone from it. The procession, 
all clad in funeral vestments, moves slowly and 


silently down the nave to the west end, where the 
sixteenth-century " Monument " towers almost to 
the roof, its white and gold columns supporting life- 
sized saints and angels, while beneath its tall dome 
gleams the great silver Custodia in which the Host 
is to lie until the day of Kesurrection. This shrine, 
which is ten feet high, is one of the master-pieces 
of that master of Spanish silversmiths, Juan de 
Arphe, and the idea of its representing the tomb of 
Christ is one more among many anomalies. The 
golden pyx is placed in the Custodia, the doors are 
closed and locked with a golden key, and the key 
is handed to the Civil Governor, who hangs it on 
a gold chain round his neck. It will remain in his 
keeping until Easter Eve, because, so we are told, 
the body of Christ was laid in unconsecrated ground 
after the Crucifixion ; and therefore, while the Host 
is within the tomb, the Chapter transfers the care of 
it to the lay authority. 

During Holy Thursday and Good Friday the 
lights on the "Monument" are kept burning day 
and night. Then on the Saturday morning the 
gold key is returned to the priests, the Custodia is 
opened, and the Host is taken out and carried in 
procession back to the altar. And the moment the 
pyx is replaced in the shrine the organ peals out, all 
the bells are rung, and guns are fired. 

It will be noticed that the Church in Seville 
anticipates both the Crucifixion and the Kesurrection 
by a day, celebrating the former on Thursday and 
the latter on Saturday. The Sevillian divines 
profess to explain this, but I am bound to say I 


could never understand their explanation, which 
connects it in some way with the mystery of the 
Eucharist. The people have their own account of 
the matter. They say that " in old times" the fast 
was kept from Wednesday until Easter morning, 
during which days no wheeled traffic was permitted 
in the streets, the shops were closed, and all business 
was suspended. After a time the four days' fast 
was found so inconvenient that it was reduced to 
three, and in order to make this possible it was 
arranged that the Resurrection should be celebrated 
on Easter Eve instead of on Easter Day ! Many 
people implicitly believe this, and the explanation 
was given to me in such good faith that I actually 
accepted it at first, although it seemed a strange 
way out of the difficulty. Wheeled traffic is still 
forbidden in the streets on Holy Thursday and Good 
Friday even in " modern " Seville, and in other 
places in Andalucia not so much as a donkey can be 
hired at any price on Good Friday. 

" I should be mat mirado " (sent to Coventry), 
said a village arriero to me one Good Friday, " if I 
took money for my beast on the day Our Lord 
died. On that day rich and poor alike must walk in 
penitence, no matter how tired they may become." 

In Seville people do not trouble so much about 
being mat mirado on ecclesiastical grounds, and 
strenuous efforts were made one year by the Radical 
party to induce the authorities to withdraw the 
prohibition of driving, even at the cost of altering 
the route of the processions. But such an outcry 
was raised by the public at the proposal that it had 


to be dropped ; for Seville business people know 
very well that any interference with the processions 
would injure trade by diminishing the influx of 
tourists, who flock here every year for Holy Week, 
far more than is done by closing the central streets 
to cabs and tram-cars during the two days. 

Indeed, the slightest change in the time-honoured 
regulations stirs up sentiments which are anything 
but pious, as I have already shown in regard to the 
Corpus Christi festival. 

For years past there has been a latent enmity 
between a wealthy Brotherhood, whose name it is 
kinder to suppress, and a very poor one. The hours 
of their respective appearance at the " Stations " (as 
the route taken is called, because in former days the 
progress of the processions represented the Stations 
of the Cross) are fixed by the Dean and Chapter, 
for if two processions meet at any " Station," hope- 
less confusion results ; and the two Brotherhoods 
in question have long been liable to meet if the 
first is unpunctual. Two years ago the rich Brother- 
hood arrived an hour late at one of the " Stations," 
and were met by the poor one from the other side 
of the town. The poor Brothers were in the right 
of it, for this was the hour at which their paso was 
due to cross that street, but the others were 
determined to take precedence, as they would 
naturally have done had they started at the proper 
time. These particular Brothers are largely of 
the aristocracy, and expect to be obeyed without 
question by their inferiors in worldly position. 
Their leader autocratically commanded the poor men 


to stand back and make room for him and his 
followers to pass. But the poor men refused, as 
they had every right to do in the circumstances, 
whereupon the aristocrat, regardless of his gorgeous 
velvet mantle and satin hood, forgot all the 
penitence and humility he was supposed to be 
feeling, and attacked the other man with his fists. 

What might have happened had the leader of 
the poor procession hit back, no one can say ; but 
the belligerent "noble" was quickly brought to his 
bearings, for the "Elder Brother" of the poor Guild 
with presence of mind laid their great processional 
cross on the ground before the feet of the would-be 
fighters. No Sevillian, however angry, would dream 
of desecrating the cross, so the irate aristocrat had to 
retire, while the other procession passed on. Pride, 
I fear, swelled the hearts of the Brothers under the 
homely calico habits, bought out of their poor wages 
at the cost of long thrift and self-denial, which thus 
for once took precedence of their wealthy rivals. 

Personally I find the poor Brotherhoods far 
more interesting than the rich, for they all have 
history behind them, and sometimes modest pasos 
whose Brothers are dressed in cheap calico, are 
draped with ancient damask and brocade more 
valuable and far more beautiful than the stiff new 
gold-embroidered mantles with which the modern 
Brotherhoods deck their " Virgins," regardless of cost. 
Some day I shall write a book about the stories of 
the pasos, grave and gay, but I must not begin upon 
them here, for I have already dwelt too long perhaps 
on these aspects of Holy Week in Seville. 



The April Fair From the harem to the caseta The Prado of 
San Sebastian- The Inquisition Conscripts and the Flag 
Spanish football clubs Buying votes The cattle at the 
Fair Harnessed a la Jerez The Sevillian elegante : fourteen 
dresses for three days The afternoon drive Dancing at 
night The marriage market Mantillas, velos, and Paris 
hats Midnight in the Fair The curtained casetas of the 
clubs Manila shawls The Queen and the mantilla " John- 
a-Dreams " and the national dress Three engagements and a 
marriage The year ends in Paradise. 

THE true history of the April Fair at Seville, like 
so much else in Spain, is lost in the mists of ages ; 
but old prints and pictures combine with tradition 
to show that it was at first merely a cattle fair, 
where dealers coming from a distance set up tents 
in which to sleep and transact business, attended 
by the itinerant gipsies who flock to fairs of every 
kind in every country. Gradually the tents of the 
dealers became a meeting-place for their families and 
their friends from the town, and then refreshments 
had to be provided, and amusements such as music, 
dancing, and singing soon followed. Now the 
Seville Fair on the Prado de San Sebastian almost 
suggests, in some respects, a show at Earl's Court 
or Olympia, with the important difference that it 
is a living reality, not a scenic representation for 
which one takes a ticket at the gate. 


The most curious feature about this three days' 
riot of festivity is its extraordinary contrast to the 
daily life of Spain. I have already referred to the 
seclusion of women, the extreme privacy of domestic 
life, typified by the lace curtains which shroud every 
window on the street and are never drawn aside, 
the darkness of the rooms thus guarded from the 
intrusion alike of the sun and of the stranger's eye, 
the strict surveillance exercised over young girls 
not only in the street but in their own homes in 
short, the persistence of the Oriental tradition that 
the women belong to their men, not to themselves, 
and that no stranger has a right to look at and 
admire them. 

This is the mode of life imposed on the women 
throughout the whole year. But when April comes 
and the Fair begins, all these restrictions are thrown 
to the winds, the mothers escort their daughters to 
the Prado, and there, seated in the " reception- 
room" of a caseta or booth, with its wooden floor 
raised three feet above the ground to give a better 
view, they look on while their girls dance in full 
view of the public, hour after hour and night after 
night, for all the world as if they were professionals 
at a theatre. The whole thing is an anomaly 
without explanation, unless indeed one takes it as 
an unconscious protest of the Sevillian women 
against their lifelong imprisonment in a home 
which in respect of its seclusion is not very different 
from a harem. 

The visible result, however, is quite charming. 
There are whole streets of canvas booths, large and 


small, luxurious and the reverse, simple, artistic, and 
fantastic ; handsome buildings of brick and iron set 
up by the fashionable clubs ; ephemeral representa- 
tions of favourite corrales and ventas, beloved of 
artists, who paint their typical casetas with their 
own hands ; there are acres of canvas covering 
hundreds of toy and sweetmeat stalls, drinking 
stalls, Aunt Sallies or their Spanish equivalents, and, 
above all, stalls for the sale of the ever-popular 
bunolitos described in an earlier chapter. The 
casetas a name given without distinction to every 
erection in the Fair make in all directions boundary- 
lines between the carriage ways and the ground 
occupied by the cattle, of which there are thousands 
upon thousands, crowded together over the great 
plain, herd by herd, without any sort of partition 
between them, donkeys cheek by jowl with pigs, 
sheep rubbing shoulders with mules, all peacefully 
lying or standing in their appointed places. 

Here San Fernando encamped for a time when 
he was besieging Seville, and here later on stood 
the Quemadero, the burning-place of the Inquisition. 
Now, except during the great fair in April and the 
lesser one at Michaelmas, the Prado is the exercise- 
ground for the troops of the garrison. Here the 
annual batches of new recruits are drilled, and here 
takes place the interesting ceremony of the Jura 
de la Bandera, when thousands of conscripts, all 
kneeling together, swear fealty to their God, their 
Flag, and their King. Here, too, the football clubs, 
of which there are several, play on Sundays all the 
year round, even in the heat of summer. I don't 


think many Englishmen would care to watch, far 
less to play, football with the thermometer at 100 
in the shade ; yet the " Sevilla Balompie" plays right 
through the summer, beginning their matches at 
6 a.m. when the afternoons get too hot for running. 
And the more praise is due to these energetic lads 
because they get no support either in money or 
approval from those in a higher social position. 
What their financial difficulties are I learnt last 
summer from an English clerk who umpires for one 
of the clubs. He told me that now the weather 
was getting so hot they wanted to start cricket 
instead of football, but they had no money to buy 
the cricket things and knew no one who would help 
them to raise funds ! And yet at election times, 
whether parliamentary or municipal, there is always 
plenty of money to buy votes, and one of these 
same footballers told me that he had been offered 
up to fifteen pesetas during a hotly contested election 
to go and personate a voter who was safe in his 
decent grave ! It has never yet occurred to 
candidates that a subscription to football clubs and 
the like would be a more respectable form of bribery 
than offering money to a half-back. 

But during the Fair nobody pays any attention 
to football, politics, or anything else of a serious 
nature. We are out to enjoy ourselves, and we 
do it. 

A drive through the actual cattle fair surprises 
those who think that Spaniards are cruel to animals. 
Sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys, mules, horses, cattle, 
are all herded together, quite tame and happy, most 


of them loose and kept from wandering only by the 
voice of the herdsman and the bark of his dog ; 
troops of young horses and young mules are enclosed 
only by an impromptu rail consisting of a rope tied 
to iron stakes driven into the ground ; great long- 
horned oxen and bulls lie on the ground without 
any sort of tether or fence. The only animals 
really shut in are the well-bred riding and carriage 
horses, which occupy wooden stables on the farther 
side of the Real de la Feria. This is the street 
where are the fashionable casetas, where the fire- 
works are let off at night, and where horsemen and 
women display their skill in a game which may 
be called threading the maze, among the countless 
motors and carriages of all sorts and kinds, private 
and hired, most of which contain daughters in white 
mantillas and mothers in black, all intent on seeing 
and being seen by the crowd. 

Many of the horses in this medley of conveyances 
are harnessed a la Jerezana a heavy collar and 
saddle, and rope traces covered with leather where 
they touch the horses, with many tinkling bells and 
innumerable balls and tassels of gay-coloured wool 
tied on wherever possible, and especially to the 
headpiece. I do not know why this harness is 
called " Jerez fashion," for I have seen far more 
animals thus decorated in the Sierra than I ever 
saw at Jerez. But even the most persistent seeker 
after information is fain to put aside his notebook 
here, and merely enjoy the picturesqueness and old- 
world air of these family coaches with their Goya- 
like occupants, and the life, colour, and animation 


of the whole scene. For in spite of the exhilaration 
produced by the pure fresh April air with its brilliant 
sunshine, and the universal atmosphere of enjoyment, 
one never quite loses the feeling that it is a play, 
even though oneself be one of the players, and that 
all too soon the curtain will ring down on one of 
the prettiest scenes to be found in Spain if not in 

I have been told that the really smart young 
lady has fourteen new dresses every year for the 
Fair. How she contrives to wear them all I don't 
know, unless she puts one on over the other, for she 
can only change her frock three times a day, because 
all the rest of the day and night she is en evidence. 
In the morning she puts on the latest hat from Paris 
to drive round and look at the cattle, hiding her 
almond eyes and her pretty arched eyebrows with 
some horrible " creation " utterly unsuited to her 
style. Few Spanish women can put on a hat very 
likely from want of practice, for it is only in the last 
twenty years or so that the mantilla or velo has 
ceased to be the universal wear. 

When our elegante shows herself in the afternoon 
in her second new dress, with her hair done very 
high, a mass of carnations resting against it and the 
immense comb of pierced tortoiseshell which she has 
inherited from her great-grandmother, and with the 
soft folds of a white silk mantilla floating about her 
face as she drives (or motors dreadful anachronism !) 
up and down the Real, we hardly know her for the 
same girl who looked so dull and heavy under that 
Paris monstrosity this morning. Her eyes flash, her 


white teeth gleam, and one begins to understand 
what poets mean when they talk about the sparkling 
brilliance of an Andalucian beauty. 

By this time the casetas are full of dancers, 
mostly schoolgirls and children as yet, for coquettes 
of sixteen and upwards are well aware that they will 
show to more advantage after nightfall, in the 
brilliant artificial light. The older girls, unless they 
own carriages or have the entree to the fashionable 
clubs, stroll up and down with their friends of both 
sexes, criticising the " carriage folk " and thinking 
no doubt how much better they themselves would 
grace those expensively appointed vehicles. At six 
o'clock, when the bull-fight ends and the spectators 
come to the Prado, the already crowded drive, nearly 
a mile long with carriages four deep, becomes so 
congested that nothing can move beyond a foot's 
pace, and nervous pedestrians can only cross the 
Real and the intersecting roads at the entrance to 
the Fair by a sort of diminutive Eiffel Tower erection 
which was built some fifteen years ago for this 
particular purpose. 

At night the Eiffel Tower, or Pasadera, as it is 
called, is illuminated from top to bottom, the whole 
of the Real is arched over with garlands of coloured 
electric bulbs, and every caseta vies with its neigh- 
bours in the lighting of the reception-rooms in which 
the girls, in their third new frocks, are to dance. For 
the display of youth and beauty is the main object 
of the social side of the Fair, which is in point of 
fact the marriage market of Seville. It is said that 
more young people come to an understanding during 



these three days than in all the rest of the year, and 
it is easy to believe it, for we know that all the world 
over spring is the prettiest ring-time, and the young 
man's fancy in particular lightly turns to thoughts 
of love at that season here in Seville. 

Dancing goes on from nine o'clock till two or three 
in the morning. Whether it be good or bad, the sight 
of waving arms and bending heads in seguidillas 
and peteneras never fails to attract the passers-by. 
Often as many as a couple of hundred people will 
collect in front of a fashionable caseta where half a 
dozen Sefioritas are dancing together, although only 
the first row of the crowd, pressed against the steps 
leading up from the footpath, can see anything 
beyond faces draped in white lace or black 
madronos, and white hands waving be-ribboned 

The greater the crowd in front, the better the 
dancers are pleased ; indeed, I remember some girls 
telling me one year that they had had a tremendous 
success over-night, " for there were so many people 
watching them that some of the invited guests had 
tried to get through to the caseta no less than three 
times in vain." And these are the girls who would 
lose their reputations if they were seen in the street 
alone in the daytime, or even two sisters together, 
without a chaperone! Mysterious indeed are the 
social customs of Spain ! 

I have already written of fireworks. If these 
are good even in villages, it may be supposed that 
they are considerably better in wealthy Seville. The 
only wonder is that the whole street of the Real is 


not set alight every night of the Fair, for the fire- 
works always end with the dangerous traca, a chain 
of crackers laid from tree to tree the whole length of 
the canvas street, and the crackers seem to explode 
actually into the casetas. And alongside of the 
footpath is a double or treble row of carriages, 
whose horses seem to be merely bored with the 
squibs and other noisy and fiery arrangements which 
explode under their noses. It is sheer good luck 
that no terrible accident has yet occurred. But no 
one protests, although every year people mildly 
remark that it is horribly dangerous and very dis- 
agreeable to have sparks falling all over the foot- 
paths. In the matter of fireworks Andalucian 
laissez faire is peculiarly apparent. 

At midnight the fun of the Fair is in full swing. 
Merry-go-rounds are numerous and highly popular, 
and each one has its steam organ or mechanical piano 
grinding out popular airs long since done to death 
in the streets. There is one in particular, called 
" Serafina," which for years has had a vogue equal 
to that of " Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay " in England when 
we were young, and it is just as fatuous a tune with 
even more fatuous words, if that be possible. This 
nightmare pursues us all along the street of the 
gipsies, and that of the toy stalls, and that of the 
bourgeois casetas to the right of the Real. The only 
place where it is not heard is at the top of the Real, 
where are the casetas of two of the principal clubs. 
Here all the curtains are carefully closed lest any 
profane eye should see the glories within, and 
military bands play valses and rigodones a quite 


peculiarly dull form of quadrille for the amusement 
of the alta aristocracia. 

Why these clubs should go to the trouble of 
receiving guests behind drawn curtains in the Prado 
instead of in their handsome club-houses in the town 
does not appear. There certainly is nothing in these 
entertainments of the traditional spirit of the Fair, 
the essence of which is that all the amusement should 
go on in full view of the public. One of their 
morning receptions is, however, quite delightful. 
This is the children's ball, which begins at 10 a.m. 
and ends before lunch. It is attended by a crowd 
of fascinating babies in fancy dress, all Spanish the 
boys as toreros, majos (the Andalucian " nut " of a 
bygone day), bandits, and what not, the girls in 
miniature mantillas, Manila shawls, or gipsy dress, 
and their innocent vanity makes the Keal charming 
when they drive up and down after the party in 
their mothers' carriages, pretending to be quite 
grown up. 

A Manila shawl is the gala dress of every 
working woman who can manage to buy or hire 
one for the Fair. In some cases they are heirlooms, 
handed down from mother to daughter. Just as 
the mantilla is the survival of the Moslem veil 
among the well-to-do, so this shawl, like the black 
one worn every day, is the survival of the veil 
among the poor. As late as the seventeenth 
century, Spanish women still covered their faces ; 
indeed,' in the Provinces of Cadiz, Malaga, and 
Granada there are even now villages where the 
women leave only one eye exposed when they 


go out, especially to Mass. Decrees were issued 
by more than one king, forbidding this " pagan " 
veiling of the female face, on the ground that it 
tended to immorality by rendering the charms thus 
concealed irresistible to the opposite sex. The 
ladies retaliated by refusing to come out of their 
houses at all if they were compelled to expose them- 
selves in that "indecent" fashion (I quote from 
contemporary writers) ; but at last a compromise 
was arrived at. They still covered their faces when 
they appeared in the street, but it was with trans- 
parent embroidery and lace, thus observing the 
letter of the law but most effectually violating the 
spirit. We owe a certain debt of gratitude to those 
ladies, whose strong sense of propriety gave birth 
to the mantilla, the prettiest head-dress ever in- 
vented by woman. 

When we first came to Spain in 1902 fashionable 
ladies were doing their best to suppress the mantilla, 
on the ground that it was ridiculous to keep up a 
" national costume " in Spain when all civilised 
countries had adopted Paris fashions ; and at one 
time it really seemed as if it would soon cease to 
be worn by any woman who had money enough 
to buy a hat. Fortunately, however, these women 
were in a minority, for here hats are only bought 
by the rich, and are very expensive. The simpler 
form of lace head-dress known as the velo, which 
is worn for the Mass, and by middle-aged women 
out of doors, had happily not begun to fall into 
disuse outside of Madrid and Barcelona, even among 
the well-to-do, notwithstanding the crusade against 


the more conspicuous mantilla. And then at the 
psychological moment came the young English 
Queen, with all a foreigner's admiration of the 
beautiful head-dress. The first portrait of her that 
was sold at a price within the means of the masses 
showed her beauty enhanced by the typical drapery 
of exquisite lace, and " She puts it on as if she were 
a Spaniard," said the people, for the arrangement 
of the mantilla is subject to strict rules, and no 
foreigner can hope to penetrate those mysteries 
unaided. This saved the mantilla. It soon became 
apparent that Her Majesty intended to wear it on 
every suitable occasion, and naturally all fashionable 
female Spain followed suit, to the delight of every- 
body except the milliners. 

In the last Seville Fair there were more mantillas 
than hats, and if it was a shock to artistic sensi- 
bilities to see them in motors, it was at any rate 
a great deal better than not seeing them at all, 
as was almost the case six or seven years ago. One 
year about that time we had a caseta, to which 
came a good number of English and American 
visitors. All these ladies wore mantillas, and were 
delighted to have the chance (for the mantilla, it 
should be said, is only worn en grande tenue), and 
our Spanish friends agreed to stand aloof from the 
then prevailing fashion and leave their hats at home 
when they came to dance in the caseta de los 
ingleses. If there was a little self-consciousness 
among the Englishwomen one or two of them said 
the first day that they felt rather like being at a 
fancy ball it disappeared when we read the local 


papers next morning. For there in large type was 
an article on the decline of the mantilla and a 
poetical paragraph thanking, in almost pathetic 
terms, the foreign ladies for wearing "with peculiar 
grace " the lovely head-dress which Andalucians now 
seemed to despise. 

We never found out who the writer was ; he 
called himself " John-a-dreams " and begged us not 
to try to pierce his incognito when we wrote to 
invite him to the caseta he had been good enough 
to praise. But we were pleased to find that our 
adoption of the mantilla was regarded as a compli- 
ment to Spain, and now we and our friends follow 
the Queen's example and wear it as often as we can. 
Apart from all other considerations, the festival 
mantilla and its humbler relative the velo, for 
common wear, are not only universally becoming, 
but are also very economical, for although a good 
piece of lace costs as much money as a Paris hat 
to begin with, it lasts for years and never goes out 
of fashion. 

Our caseta that year fulfilled its duty well. We 
had the light carefully arranged to fall becomingly 
on the girls' faces, and we had a platform raised 
extra high for them to dance on. We said that 
if the object of the caseta was to show off the 
Senoritas we might as well set the stage with special 
regard to its purpose. And no less than three 
engagements were the outcome, one of which at 
least has led to what seems to be a very happy 

As for me, I have come back to the point from 


which I started. The summer, autumn, and winter 
are past, and the April Fair has come and gone. 
My Spanish year is over and the bride's new year 
has begun, with the scent of roses, jessamine, and 
orange blossom, the murmur of fountains, and the 
warble of the nightingales among the elms up the 
hillside at Granada. For that is where girls who 
wear mantillas go for their honeymoon, and where 
good tourists go when they die. 

Printed by MORRISON & QIBB LIMITBD, Edinburgh 





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Adventure JACK LONDON. 

A Son of the Sun . . i JACK LONDON. 

An Odyssey of the North JACK LONDON. 

Children of the Frost JACK LONDON. 

John Barleycorn JACK LONDOK. 

Love of Life . . i JACK LONDON. 

Smoke Bellew JACK LONDON. 

South Sea Tales JACK LONDON. 

The Cruise of the Dazzler JACK LONDON. 

The Cruise of the Snark JACK LONDON. 

When God Laughs ; . JACK LONDON. 

The God of his Fathers . . ... JACK LONDON. 

The House of Pride. (Entirely New) . . . JACK LONDON. 

The Iron Heel JACK LONDON, 

The Mutiny of the Elsinore JACK LONDOK. 

The Scarlet Plague. (Entirely New) . . . JACK LONDON. 
The Road. (Entirely New) : . . JACK LONDON. 

The Valley of the Moon ...... JACK LONDON. 


The Haven ...;.. . EDEN PHILLPOTTS. 

The Czar's Spy ....... WILLIAM LE QUEUX. 

Who Giveth this Woman ? WILLIAM LE QUEUX. 

The Valiants of Virginia .... HALLIE ERMINIE RIVES. 

The Order of Release H. DE VERB STACPOOLE. 


Sporting Stories THORMANBY. 

Life W. B. TRITES. 

An Unknown Lover . . . MRS. G. DE HORNE VAIZEY. 

The Adventures of Billie Belshaw . MRS. G. DE HORNE VAIZEY. 

Orizel Married MRS. G. DE HORNE VAIZEY. 

Big Tremaine .:...... MARIE VAN VORST. 

His Love Story MARIE VAN VORST. 

Her Heart's Desire MARIE VAN VORST. 

The Red Mirage I. A. R. WTLIK. 

The Temple of Dawn I. A. B. WVLIK. 




Picture Covers. Demy Svo. 

MILLS & BOON are issuing a new series of Copyright Novels 
by the foremost Novelists of the day. They are printed 
from large type on good paper. The first volumes are : 

Calico Jack. By HORACE W. C. NEWTE, Author of ' ' Sparrows." 
Globe. " Calico Jack is no mere creature of invention, but the real thing." 

The Sins of the Children. By HORACE W. C. NEWTE. 

Globe. " A strong convincing picture of life." 

Lena Swallow. By HORACE W. C. NEWTE. 
Living Pictures. By HORACE W. C. NEWTE. 

Glasgow Herald. " None of them is less than brilliant." 

The Lonely Lovers. By HORACE W. C. NEWTE. 

Daily Chronicle. " A very vivid rendering of tense human passion and 

The Summer Book. By MAX PEMBERTON. 

The Adventures of Captain Jack. By MAX PEMBER- 
TON, Author of " The Summer Book." 

Punch. " What be has to tell is so deftly told that I spent an excellent 
afternoon a-reading his volume (Mills & Boon)." 

A Golden Straw. By J. E. BUCKROSE, Author of " Dowr> 

Our Street." 
Daily Graphic. " A story of invincible freshness and charm." 

The Pilgrimage of a Fool. By J. E. BUCKROSE. 

Globe. " Far and away above the ordinary novel." 

Fame. By B. M. CROKER, Author of " Angel." 

Scotsman. "A clever workmanlike novel, always bright and entertaining. 

The Quaker Girl. The Novel of the Play. By HAROLD 


The Education of Jacqueline. By CLAIRE DE PBATZ, 

Author of " Elisabeth Davenay." 
Obterver. "Jacqueline ia a darling." 

The Silence Broken. By Mrs. BAILLIE REYNOLDS, Author 

of "Nigel Ferrard." 

freeman' t Journal." A most suitable book for the summer holidays, filled 
from cover to cover with love and romance." 



My Spanish Year. By Mrs. BERNARD WHISHAW. 

With 20 Illustrations from Photographs. Demy 8vo. 
10s. Gd. net. 

Westminster Gazette. " A vivacious and charming record.*' 
The Time*. "Has real value as an interpretation of Spain to English 
Daily News." An admirable volume in an admirable series." 

My Japanese Year. By T. H. SANDERS. Illus- 
trated. Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net. 

Glasgow Herald. "A valuable record, vivid and impressive pictures of 
the people in their homes and at their work." (t An interesting book; an obviously fair and therefore a 
decidedly favourable impression of the Japanese." 

Standard." Can be heartily recommended as a genuine record of an 
intelligent and unprejudiced witness." 

My Italian Year. By RICHARD BAGOT. with 25 

Illustrations. Demy 8vo. Second Edition. 10s. 6d. net. 
The Observer." 'My Italian Year* vrill tell the reader more about the 

real present-day go-ahead Italy than any other book that has come to our 


Daily Telegraph. "&. thoughtful, knowledgeful book." 
Truth. "The best-informed book which has appeared of late on Italy." 

My Russian Year. By ROTHAY REYNOLDS, with 

28 Illustrations. Demy 8vo. Second Edition. 105. Qd. net. 
Also Popular Edition. 2s. 6d. net. 

Times. "Full of anecdote, sometimes indeed of gossip, but it is first- 
hand anecdote and the characteristic gossip which comes to the ears of a 
man who has lived in the country and understood its people. . . . Mr. 
Reynolds has succeeded in drawing a truthful and impartial picture of tho 
ordinary Russian. " 

Truth. " I have never read a book on Russia which gives such intimate 
and interesting, and at the same time vivid, pictures of social, domestic, 
political, and ecclesiastical life of Russia." 

Punch. " It is the best work of its kind I have seen for years." 

Mills & Boon's My Year Series 

My Cosmopolitan Year. By the Author of "Mas- 
tering Flame "and "Asfces of Incense." With 24 Illus- 
trations. Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net. 

Times. "Here we have the fresh and breezy comments of one who ha* 
Been the cities and known the minds of many men.' " 
Athenaeum. "Brightly written, admirably illustrated, should become 
favourite with observant travellers." 

My Parisian Year. By MAUDE ANNESLEY. With 

16 Illustrations from Photographs and 1 in Colour. 
Demy 8vo. Second Edition. 10s. 6d. net. 

Pall Mall Gazette. "The 'joie de vivre' radiates from its pages . . . 
never dull or commonplace." 

Observer." Lots of wrinkles . . . a sprightly book." 

Evtning Standard. "What Max O'Rell did for our countrymen Maude* 
Annesley does for his." 

Scotsman. " Convincing aa well as highly entertaining." 

My German Year. By i. A. E. WYLIE, Author of 

"The Rajah's People." With 2 Illustrations in Colour 
and 18 from Photographs. Demy 8vo. Second Edition. 
10*. &d. net. 

Evening Standard. "Should be read by every household. We have 
seldom read a more interesting book." 

Westminster Gazette. "A wise, well-informed, and very readable book, 
with some delightful fresh information and shrewd criticisms." 

My Siberian Year. By M. A. CZAPLICKA. With 

28 Full-page Illustrations. Demy 8vo. 10*. Gd. net. 

An extremely interesting book, containing the record of a remarkable 
year in a woman's life. 




"So auspiciously inaugurated with Miss Wylie's and Mrs. 
Gostling's volumes" LIVERPOOL COURIER. 

" They teem with interesting information about people and 
places "STANDARD. 

Rambles in Australia. By MARION and EDWARD 

SHARPE GREW. With 32 Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 

Rambles about the Riviera. By FRANCES M. 
GOSTLING. With 41 Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 6*. 

"Rambles about the Riviera" is a delightful account of a motor-car 
trip taken in that wonderful old-world district which is visited by thou- 
sands every year, and gives the reader a first-hand acquaintance with the 
subject. Those who are already familiar with Mrs. Gostling's work will 
i.eed no urging to buy this joyous book, for it will prove a valuable guide 
to the cultured visitor. 

Rambles around French Chateaux. By 

FRANCES M. GOSTLING, Author of " The Bretons at 
Home." With 5 illustrations in Colour, 33 from Photo- 
graphs, and a Map. Crown 8vo. 6*. 
Manchester Courier. "Amusing, interesting, delightful." 
Birmingham Daily Post. " Very instructive, very aniusmg. 
Morning Post." Full of interest." 

Rambles in the Black Forest. By I. A. R. WYLIB, 

Author of " My German Year." With 5 Illustrations in 
Colour and 24 from Photographs. Crown 8vo. 6*. 
Taller. " She has the ' soul' of the true rambler." 

Morning Post. 11 Miss Wylie has made a new and admirable route for 

Rambles in Norway. By HAROLD SIMPSON. With 

8 Illustrations in Colour and 32 from Photographs. 
Crown 8vo. 6*. 

Dundee Advertiser. " Well worth reading. Deserves to be widely read 
by those who have enjoyed such Rambles in Norway and by those who 
have nut." 

Scotsman. "A lightly and pleasantly written account of a delightful 

Standard." Beautifully illustrated." 

Mills & Boon's Rambles Series 
Rambles with an American in Great Britain. 

By CHRISTIAN TEARLE. With 21 Illustrations. 
Crown 8vo. 6*. 

Liverpool Courier. " An interesting and ingenious account of a literary 
pilgrimage, and in every place the author has something lively and original 
to say." 

Daily Express. " Good and wholesome reading." 

Rambles in Ireland. By ROBERT LYND. With 5 

Illustrations in Colour by JACK B. YEATS and 25 from 
Photographs. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

Pall Mall Oazette." Mr. Lynd'a delightful book, which he presents with 
beauty simple and unaffected." 

Evening Standard. " Mr. Lynd knows Ids Ireland and has written a 
chantiini: book on it." 

Daily Newt." This fascinating book." 

Rambles in Florence. By G. B. TROUTBECK. 

With 8 Illustrations in Colour by R. McANDREW and 
32 from Photographs. Crown 8vo. 6*. 
Guardian. " The work of a real student of Dante." 
Timet. "Full of information." 

Dundee Advertiser." Written with an equal appreciation of artistic 
beauty and historic greatness, this book is one which will commend itself 
to every lover of Florence." 

Rambles in Rome. By G. B. TROUTBECK. With 

8 Illustrations in Colour by R. McANDREW and 32 from 
Photographs. Crown 8vo. 6*. 

Rambles in Holland. By E. and M. s. GREW. 

With 32 Illustrations and a Map. Crown 8vo. 6*. 

Aberdeen Free Frees." A delightful book about a delightful country. 
Al together admirable." 

Globe. "A very charming and a very useful book." 

Rambles in the North Yorkshire Dales. By 

J. E. BUCKROSE. With 24 Illustrations in half-tone 
and 4 in colour. Crown 8vo. 3*. Gd. net. 

Daily Chronicle. " It is altogether a joyaome time, with sunshine and 
merry episode to ensure success." 




Sam Darling's Reminiscences. With 8 Photo- 
gravures and 42 Half-Tone Illustrations. Demy 8vo. 
21*. net. Large Paper Edition, limited to 75 copies, 
signed by the Author. 52*. 6d. net. 

Sporting Life. "A most valuable addition to the literature of the Turf." 
Scots-man. "A very desirable addition to every sporting man's library." 

What I Know. Reminiscences of Five Years' Personal 
Attendance upon his late Majesty King Edward VII. 
By C. W. STAMPER. With a Portrait in Colour, never 
before published, by OLIVE SNELL. Third Edition. 
Demy 8vo. 10*. Gd. net. Popular Edition. Crown 8vo. 
2f. net. 
The Time*. " What would the historian not give for such a book about 

Queen Elizabeth or Louis Quatorze? . . . adds something to history." 

Forty Years of a Sportsman's Life. By SIR 

Illustrations. Demy 8vo. 10*. 6d. net. Popular Edition. 
Large Crown 8vo. 6*. 

Sporting Life. " More enthralling than the most romantic novel." 
Daily Mail. " From cover to cover there is not a dull page." 

From a Punjaub Pomegranate Grove. By c. C. 

DYSON. With H Illustrations. Demy 8vo. 10*. Gd. 

Evening Standard. " So pleasant and pict\ireaque is Miss Dyson's style 
that we would gladly welcome a second volume." 

My Slav Friends. By ROTHAY REYNOLDS, Author 
of ' My Russian Year." Illustrated. Demy 8vo. 10*. &d. 

In this new book, by the anthor of " My Russian Tear," the author aims, 
not merely to present his Russian friends of all sorts and conditions to 
the reader, in the hope that they may interest or entertain him, but also 
to help him to understand the way in which they look at life, and to 
account to him for their behaviour. He writes of the people he has met, 
of cities he has visited, of manor-houses and third-class railway carriages, 
of shrines and playhouses, of servant-girls and politicians, of station- 
masters and Polish countesses, of Jews and priests and dancing-girls, of 
the Queen of Poland, of the jnruble of people he has lingered with, or 
jostled against, in going up and down th Russian Empire. 


Mills & Boon's Catalogue 
Forty Years in Brazil. By FRANK BENNETT. 

With 24 Illustrations. Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net. 

Standard. " Can bo recommended to the reading public generally, and it 
should command close attention from student* of international politics, 
and from the business world." 

Pall Mall." May be warmly recommended to all who are interested in 
a country that is steadily coming more and more to the front." 

Sheffield Daily Telegraph. " Intending residents in, and visitors to, 
South America will serve their own interests greatly by reading through 
this capitally written book." 

Memories and Adventures. By MADAME 
HERITTE-VIARDOT. With 20 Illustrations. Demy 
8vo. 10*. 6d. net. 

Daily Telegraph." Full of the deepest interest for both laymen and 

Sheffield Daily Telegraph. " A mine of amusing anecdote." 

Sixty-Eight Years on the Stage. By Mrs. 

CHARLES CALVERT. Popular Edition. Large Crown 

8vo. 6s. 

Morning Pott." Agreeable and amusing." 
Pall Mall Gazette." Charming." 

Yvette Guilbert: Struggles and Victories. 

fusely illustrated with Caricatures, Portraits, Facsimiles 
of Letters, etc. Demy 8vo. 10*. 6d. net. 
Daily Telegraph." The volume is a real delight all through." 

Daily Chronicle." A fascinating book, and a remarkable one, because 
for the half of it you may read Yvette Guilbert's own French, and the 
translation of Mr. Simpson on the opposite page." 


The Hero of Brittany : Armand de Chateau- 
briand. Correspondent of the Princes between France 
and England, 17681809. By E. HERPIN. Translated 
by MBS. COLQUHOUN GRANT. With 8 Illustrations. 
Demy 8vo. 10s. Gd. net. 

Armand de Chateaubriand was a cotnin of the famous French author 
Een4 de Chateaubriand. The book presents a very faithful and pathetic 
picture of Brittany during and after the great Revolution. Armand wa a 
fine sportsman, and served with Condi's army ; but he spent his days 
crossing the Channel, often in great peril, for the purpose of embarking the 
escaping emigrants, and bringing back such men as were assisting the 
return of the Bourbon princes.. 

The Man Who Saved Austria : The Life and 

Times of Baron Jellacic. By M. HARTLEY, Author of 
" A Sereshan." With 18 Illustrations and a Map. Demy 
8vo. 10. Gd. net. 

Bookman. "A capital account of the life and times of Jellacic. Ex- 
ceedingly readable." 

A Mystic on the Prussian Throne : Frederick- 
William II. By GILBERT STANHOPE. With 12 Illus- 
trations. Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net. 

Morning Post." We congratulate Mr. Stanhope on a very genuine piece 
of work." 

The Life and Times of Arabella Stuart. By 

M. LEFUSE. With 12 Illustrations, Demy 8vo. JO*. &d. 


Globe. "An extraordinarily interesting book. 

Pall Mall Gtizette."A vivid picture of a remarkable and nnhappy 
woman and of the times in which she lived, loved, and suffered." 

A Queen's Knight : The Life of Count Axel 

de Fersen. By MILDRED CARNEGY, Author of "Kings 
and Queens of France." With 12 Illustrations. Demy 
8vo. 7s. Gd. net. 

Liverpool Courier." Far greater than that of th ordinary novel is the 
interest in the story of his life as told in thia book." 

Mills & Boon's Catalogue 
Roman Memories, in the Landscape seen 

from Capri. Narrated by THOMAS BPENCEll JEROME. 
Illustrated by MORGAN HEISKELL. Demy 8vo. 7s. Qd. 

To make the great historical suggestiveness which the country around 
and near the Bay of Naples possesses for the cultivated observer assume a 
more distinct form in the consciousness of visitors to these shores, is the 
purpose of this book. It begins with the old myths and continues down 
through the surprisingly large number of Roman events associated with 
this district to the end of classical times (476 A.P.), keeping the local episodes 
in their due relation to the general current of ancient history by giving 
an outline thereof, which makes it of value as a general sketch of Roman 

Margherita of Savoy. By SIGNORA ZAMPINI 

SALAZAR. With a Preface by RICHARD BAGOT. 
Illustrated. Demy 8vo. 10*. 6d. net. 

In the present volume the part played by Margherita di Savoia in 
encouraging every legitimate and pracuical effort to enlarge the sphere 
of feminine action in her country, and to employ feminine influence as an 
intellectual and civilising influence instead of confining it entirely within 
the walls of palaces and cottages, is described by Signora Zampini Salazar 
both accurately and faithfully. 

In Cheyne Walk and Thereabout. By REGINALD 

BLUNT, Author of " Paradise Row." With 22 Illustra- 
tions. Demy 8vo. 10*. 6d. net. 

To say that Cheyne Walk is the most interesting, historic, ana delightful 
street in all England might strike a stranger to Chelsea as rather an 
extravagant claim, yet these pages go far to support it. 

The English Court in Exile : James II. at 

St. Germain. By MARION and EDWIN SHARPE 
GREW. With 16 Illustrations. 15*. net. 

Spectator. " Should certainly be read by all students of the revolution ; 
an exceedingly interesting and readable book." 

Athenaeum. " Not a single Tininteresting page. We had no idea so good 
a book could be written on such a story." 

Truth. " Excellent . . . picturesque and impartial." 

The Court of William III. By EDWIN and 

MARION SHARPE GREW. With 16 Illustrations. 
Demy 8vo. 15*. net. 

Morning Post. " Done with fairness and thoroughness. . . . The book 
kou many conspicuous merits." 


Mills & Boon's Catalogue 
The Romance of the Oxford Colleges. By 

FRANCIS GRIBBLE. Popular Edition, with 12 Illus- 
trations. 2.. 6d. net. 
Westminster Gazette." Does not contain a dull page." 

The Romance of the Cambridge Colleges. 

By FRANCIS GRIBBLE. With 16 Illustrations. Crown 

8vo. 6*. Popular Edition, 2s. 6d. net. 
Times. "May be cordially recommended." 

Truth. "The history of the colleges in a bright and readable form with 
an abundance of anecdotes." 
Aberdeen Free Press. " Not a dull page." 

The Romance of the Men of Devon. By 

FRANCIS GRIBBLE, Author of "The Romance of the 
Oxford Colleges," etc. With a Photogravure Frontispiece 
and 16 Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 6*. 

The Lady. " A delightful volume." 

Dundee Advertiser. ' ' Written with a charm and ease which are de- 

The Story of the British Navy. By E. KEBLB 

CHATTERTON. With a Frontispiece in Colour and 50 
Illustrations from Photographs. Demy 8vo. 10*. Qd. net. 

Naval and Military .Record. "Contains practically everything which the 
average individual wishes to know." 

Royal Love-Letters : A Batch of Human 

Documents. Collected and Edited by E. KEBLE 
CHATTERTON. With 12 Illustrations. Demy 8vo. 
10*. Gd. net. 

The Petticoat Commando : or, Boer Women 

in Secret Service. By JOHANNA BRANDT. With 
13 Illustrations and a Map. Second Edition. Crown 8vo. 

Romances of the War. By E. S. GREW. Illus- 
trated. &?. Qd. net. 

" Romances of the War" is a volume dealing, as the title denotes, with 
many incidents, some tender, some pathetic, some romantic, and most of 
all with the human side of War as it is in France at the present time. 
The great charm of the book is that it proves how true is the well-known 
saying, " What a small world we live in," and also perhaps that " Truth ia 
stranger than fiction." 



Nerve in War Time. By EDWIN L. ASH, M.D. 

(Lond.). Crown 8vo. Is. net. 

Nerves and the Nervous. By EDWIN L. ASH, 

M.D. (Lond.). New Edition. Crown 8vo. Cloth, 3*. Gd. net. 

Daily Express." One of the most refreshing books published for some 
time. Dr. Ash not only probes into exactly what one feels when one is 
nervous or worried, but the treatment is so free from fads that it does even 
an unnervy person good." 

Mental Self-Help. By EDWIN L. ASH, M.D. (Lond.), 

Assistant Physician Italian Hospital, London ; Physician 
for Nervous Diseases to the Kensington and Fulham 
General Hospital. Author of " Nerves and the Nervous." 
Crown 8vo. 2s. Gd. net. 
Athenaeum. " A lucid little book. His style is clear and convincing." 

Stammering and Self-Control. By EDWIN L. 

ASH, M.D. Crown 8vo. 2s. Gd. net. 

Can't Waiters ; or How You Waste Your Energies. 

By EDWIN L. ASH, M.D. (Lond.), Crown 8vo. 1*. net. 

A Manual for Nurses. By SYDNEY WELHAM, 

M.R.C.S. (late Resident Medical Officer, Charing Cross 
Hospital). With Diagrams. Second Edition. Crown 
8vo. 3s. Gd. net. Paper cover, 1*. net. 

British Medical Journal. "A useful reference work for nurses both 
early and late in their career." 

Child Nurture. By HONNOR MORTEN, Author of 

" The Nursery Nurse's Companion," " The Nurse's Dic- 
tionary." With a Frontispiece in Photogravure. Crown 
8vo. 3*. 6d. net. 
Standard. 14 Admirably practical full of useful Knowledge." 

Household Accounts. By RUPERT DEAKIN, M.A., 
and P. J. HUMPHREYS, B.Sc. Fourth Edition. 
Crown 8vo. Gd. net. 

This little book contains information which ia of real value to every one 
who has the control or management of a house. 



England V. Australia. By P. F. WARNER. Popular 

Edition. Demy 8vo. 7*. 6<Z. net. 
Sporting Life. " The book is one that every cricketer should possasa." 

Twenty-four Years of Cricket. By ARTHUR A. 

LILLE Y. Popular Edition. Is. net. 

Switzerland in Winter. By WILL and CARIXE 

CADBY. With GO Photographs by the Authors. 
Crown 8vo. 5s. net. 

Country Life." A little book, admirably written, and packed with 
useful intoriiiadon. Briuga back a thousand memories to many thousand 
people. " 

The Motorist's Pocket Tip Book. By GEOFFREY 

OSUORN. With 13 Full-page Illustrations. Fcap. Svo. 
Leather. 5s. net. 

Srotti-,h. Fithi. "Contains in the clearest, most condensed, and most 
,pr;vtucal i'oiLLijiiat the information one wants." 

The Chauffeur's Companion. By "A FOUR-INCH 

DRIVER." With 4 Plates and 5 Diagrams. Waterproof 
Cloth. 2s. net. 

The Lady Motorist's Companion. By " A FOUR- 
INCH DRIVER." With 7 Plates and 4 Diagrams. 2s. &d. 

British Mountain Climbs. By GEORGE D. ABRA- 
HAM, Author of "The Complete Mountaineer." With 
18 Illustrations and 21 Outline Drawings. Pocket size. 
Leather, Is. Qd. nt. Cloth, 5s. net. 
Sportsman. "Eminently a practical manual." 

Swiss Mountain Climbs. By GEORGE D. ABRA- 
HAM. With 24 Illustrations and 22 Outline Drawings 
of the principal peaks and their routes. Pocket size. 
Leather, 7s. Gd. net. Cloth, 5*. net. 

ife." As essential aa good climbing boots." 

Mills & Boon's Catalogue 
The Golfer's Pocket Tip Book. By G. D. 

Part-Author of "The Six Handicap Golfer's Companion.* 
Fully Illustrated. Pott 8vo. Leather. 5s. net. 
HARBY VAEDON says : "It is a very handy little book." 

The Six Handicap Golfer's Companion. By. 

"TWO OF HIS KIND." With Chapters by H. 8. COLT 
and HAROLD H. HILTON. Illustrated with 15 Photo- 
graphs of JACK WHITE (ex open champion). 2a. 6rf. net. 
Popular Edition. Paper cover, Is. net. 

Golf Illustrated. " The author's aim is to teach inferior players how te- 
reduce their handicaps to at least six. There is a great deal of sound advice 
in the book, and its value is greatly increased by two excellent chapters by- 
Mr. H. H. Hilton and Mr. H. S. Colt." 

First Steps to Golf. By G. s. BROWN, with 9& 

Illustrations by G. P. ABRAHAM, F.R.P.S., and 9 Dia- 
grams. Crown 8vo. 25. tid. net. 
Daily Graphic." A most lucid guide for the benefit of the beginner." 

Letters of a Modern Golfer to his Grandfather.. 

Arranged by UKNRY LEACH. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

Outlook. "A book in which the human interest is as marked as the 
practical instruction. " 

Club Bridge. By ARCHIBALD DUNN, Author of 
"Bridge and How to Piay it." Crown 8vo. Popular 
Edition. 3*. net. 
Evening Standard. "This is, in *uc, -TIIIE BOOK. 

Royal Spade Auction Bridge. By ARCHIBALD* 

DUNN. Second Edition. Crown 8vo. 2s. Gd. net. 

Birmingham Post. "An exhaustive discussion of the many debatable 
points in connection with the systems of play at present in force. Mr. 
Dunn's reasoning ia logical and his suggestions valuable." 

The Rifleman's Companion. By L. R. TIPPIN& 

With 6 Illustrations. 2s. 6d. net. 


The Philippines Past and Present. By DEAN 

C. WORCESTER. With 128 Full- page Illustrations. 
2 Vols. Demy 8vo. 30s. net. 

Morning Post." Mr. Worcester's knowledge of the Philippines ia un- 

The New Russia: From the White Sea to 

the Siberian Steppe. By ALAN LETHBRIDGE. With 
95 Illustrations and 3 Maps. Demy 8vo. 16*. net. 

Tiwei. " Page after page discloses a homely and intimate acquaintance 
-with th habits and thoughts of Russians of every stock." 

Pall Mall Gazette. " Piquant impressions of the Russian disposition 
th whole narrative is engaging to those who have a compartment of their 
<ninds devoted to ibe present and future of Russia." 

Evening Standard. " Mr. Lethbridge's cheery and glowing pages should 
have a great effect when the war is over in stimulating both the tourists 
and the merchandise of this country to enter Russia. Altogether an 
-attractive book." 

Voyaging in Wild Seas : or, A Woman 

among the Head Hunters. A narrative of the voyage 
of the Stark in the years 1907-1909. By CHABMIAN 
8vo. 15*. net. Illustrated. 

Daily Graphic "Jack London has narrated the story of "The Cruise 
of the Snark.' But his wife believes she can supplement that history with 
^details likely to interest her husband's public. Hence the ' Voyaging in 
Wild Seas.' Whatever the incidents to be recorded, and they are countless 
in number and of thrilling variety, she describes them in a straightforward 
manner. Consequently there is not a dull page in the book. It is alive 
-with human interest and high spirits all through. As ir.ay b inferred, 
tb's is in large part a biography of the novelist for the period it covers. 
But it is mor ; it presents an absorbing picture of the natives with whom 
the travellers came in contact." 

The Cruise of the Snark. By JACK LONDON. 

Fcap. 8vo. 1. net. 

Scotmnan. " Makes a fresh and strong appeal to all those who love high 
adventure and good literature." 

Daily Graphic." We have to thank Mills & Boon for publishing this 
fflwuarkable world's cruise." 


Mills & Boon's Catalogue 

Two Years with the Natives in the Western- 
Pacific. By DR. FELIX SPEISER. With 40 Illustra- 
tions. Demy 8vo. 10*. 6d. net. 

Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News. "A really valuable book of 
travel. " 

Daily Chronicle. "Supplies valuable material for a knowledge of races- 
low down in the scale of culture in Lie detailed account of their social life, 
belief, and customs." 

The Wonderful Weald and the Quest of the 

Crock of Gold. By ARTHUR BECKETT, Author 
of " The Spirit of the Downs." With 20 Illustrations in 
Colour and 43 Initials by ERNEST MARILUER. 
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Return to desk from which borrowed. 
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 

JAN 28 1948 

JAN 091848 

9]an '57WMX 
nEC 18 135 


SEP 9 KttU 


:p 9-99 

LD 21-100m-9,'47(A5702sl6)476 

VC 37